The First Guests of the 5th Berlin Critics' Week
What do Whit Stillman and Nina Power think about the staging of feminism? Or Ulrich Köhler and Lili Hinstin about alienation in political cinema? During the Berlin Critics’ Week, film directors discuss their films and the state of film culture with film professionals, philosophers, and other artists. Here’s a first peek at some of our debate participants.
“Delight & Delusion”! With his feature debut, “Magic Skin”, the former film critic Kostas Samaras opens up a charged space for extreme stylistic decisions that seems tailor made for a debate. We invite filmmaker Antonin Peretjatko (“La Fille du 14 juillet”, “La Loi de la jungle”), theatre director Susanne Kennedy (most recently at the Volksbühne Berlin with “Coming Society”) and film critic Devika Girish to come and have all their wishes come true on stage. Antonin Peretjatko already has a lot of practice: the ironic worlds he constructs also obey peculiar rules, much like “Magic Skin”. Susanne Kennedy’s film adaptations for the theatre expand on the inventiveness of cinema through their use of masks and drastic alienation through technological means. The film critic Devika Girish is an expert on Bollywood’s formal delusions and likes to keep a close eye on international auteur cinema. (Debate “Delight & Delusion” on Tuesday, Feb 12)
An evening with the title “Implant”: how can cinema bring together seemingly incompatible elements and render them as images? After the screening of “The Ambassador’s Wife” and Virgil Vernier’s new film “Sophia Antipolis”, we find out whether the director’s opinions regarding political film forms coincide with those of Lili Hinstin, Locarno Festival’s new artistic director, and filmmaker Ulrich Köhler (“In My Room”). Starting in 2019, Lili Hinstin takes over one of the most important film festivals and she belongs to a new group of cinephile festival directors whose cultural-political perspectives are likely to prove influential in the coming years. Ulrich Köhler is known in the festival world as one of the distinctive voices of contemporary German cinema. He shares Virgil Vernier’s incisive interest in people who find themselves at odds with their urban, social and cultural environment. (Debate “Implant” on Wednesday, Feb 13)
On the first evening of film screenings, we ask the Turkish experimental filmmaker Gürcan Keltek (“Gulyabani”) and the HFBK graduate Puangsoi Aksornsawang (“Nakorn-Sawan”) to give us insight into cinema’s emancipatory potential. After the screening of their films, for the debate titled “Resisting Disappearance”, they will go searching for common traces together with filmmaker Carla Simón and art historian Philip Ursprung. In her autobiographical film debut “Summer 1993”, Carla Simón worked through her own biography and the death of her parents. Much like the evening’s guest directors, she knows how to politicise biographies. Philip Ursprung probes the limits of architectural and art spaces, and finds connections between art and politics, as well as between volcanic migrations on Java and failed European revolutions. In his publications and lectures, travel is both a critical reflection on what has been left behind and can incite new beginnings. (Debate “Resisting Disappearance” on Thursday, Feb 7)
On the last evening, we invite you to engage with Jovana Reisinger and Susanne Heinrich’s standpoints. Their films “pretty girls don’t lie” and “Aren’t You Happy?” reflect on the possibilities for a cinema of resistance. With the cultural critic and philosopher Nina Power (“The One-Dimensional Woman”) and the filmmaker Whit Stillman (“Last Days of Disco”, “Love & Friendship”), they will discuss the facets of staging and how feminism relates to capitalist oppression. Nina Power is serious about the revolution and, drawing on neo-Marxist theory, contemplates how social movements can confront contemporary power structures through political practice – for the private has long been political. This is also true of Whit Stillman’s comedies, in which bourgeois love qualms are presented as symptomatic, serving as reflections of the American zeitgeist. (Debate “Staging Feminism” on Thursday, Feb 14)