Criticism as Agenda

For one week, screenings and debates invite you all to reflect on such topics as film, criticism and cinema as a cultural space. Which standards define the present production, selection and perception of films? Where are films exhibited, by whom and under which circumstances? Who will write about them and how? The Berlin Critics’ Week challenges you to take a close look and to rediscover perspectives in the cinematic space.

In order to leave their comfort zone and raise challenging questions for themselves, their colleagues, filmmakers and the industry, the film critics Dunja Bialas, Jennifer Borrmann, Frédéric Jaeger, Claus Loeser, and Dennis Vetter published the Pamphlet for Activist Film Criticism during the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in May 2014. More than 80 international colleagues expressed their solidarity and underlined the relevance of the issues addressed in the paper. One of the articulated demands was the installation of a Critics’ Week during Berlin International Film Festival, as an open space for debate, a place to defend a culture of passionate dissent and forms of discourse beyond the usual talk sessions.

Frédéric Jaeger, Dennis Vetter, and Dunja Bialas organized the first edition of Critics’ Week in 2015. Since then every February we live up to this demand and show a selection of remarkable examples of international cinema. The films spark questions that we joyfully and polemically explore with a group of international guests. Located between the main centres of Berlinale we are a hub and a forum for dialogues, a place to foster friendship and solidarity beyond professional and dogmatic borders. We ask you to regard the Berlin Critics’ Week as a spark and inspiration, as resistance and appeal, as an initiative that reaches out beyond Berlinale. Our debates are not limited to the cinema.