Conference 2017

Lost in Politics:

The third edition of the Berlin Critics’ Week opens with a conference on politics and cinema

From February 8 to 16 the German Film Critics Association will present the third edition of the Berlin Critics’ Week. The annual film and debate series will be launched with a conference on the political dimensions of contemporary cinema and the question, whether its political messages seem to prevail over artistic forms.

After the considerable attention our first conference on the state of German cinema drew in February 2016 an opening conference will become a recurring part of the Berlin Critics’ Week.

Lost in Politics

Do films have to be political?
Or: On contemporary cinema, how it risks being taken over by content and why it is afraid of art.

Films defending the weak and presenting moral heroes are ubiquitous. Maybe today there is a real demand for this kind of filmmaking, as it is being celebrated and awarded with countless prizes. Take for example Jacques Audiard’s dramatic refugee thriller “Dheepan”, that won Cannes in 2015, the essay film on Lampedusa, Gianfranco Rosi’s “Fuocoammare”, that triumphed in Berlin 2016 or this year‘s Golden Palm winner in Cannes, Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake”, about a carpenter marginalized by the welfare bureaucracy.

Among the films with a political message we find boring and exciting, outstanding and exasperating ones. Yet all of them have one thing in common: they are being marketed as relevant and important. That also poses a challenge to film critics who far too often take up the political argument handed to them by the film and its defenders instead of actually talking about cinema: the political headline takes the place of aesthetic discourse.

On the eve of the film event that is routinely referred to as the most political of the big festivals, we will inquire the value of the political in cinema and ask how it is possible to make films politically instead of turning cinema into politics.

How seriously do films and their creators take their political engagement? Is a film only important if its topic is political? Or is that only a condition for it to be financed in the first place in a system of subsidies awarded by committees? And especially: what effect does it have on the art of filmmaking if cinema defines itself by thematic content? What does that mean for its most elementary means of expression: the artistic form?


Doors open at 7pm

Beginning at 8pm

Welcome Greetings

Theses on political cinema by Nino Klingler (film critic, programming team member of the Berlin Critics’ Week, fellow at the UdK Berlin Graduate School)

Panel discussion with
– Athina Rachel Tsangari (director and producer, “Attenberg”, “Chevalier”)
– Azize Tan (curator, former director of the Istanbul Film Festival from 2006 to 2015)
– Joachim Lepastier (film critic, Cahiers du Cinéma)
– Alexander García Düttmann (philosopher, Universität der Künste Berlin)
– Carlos Gerstenhauer (editor-in-chief “Kino und Debüt” at Bayerischer Rundfunk)

Moderated by Rüdiger Suchsland

Audience discussion

The conference closes at 10:30 pm

silent green Kulturquartier
Gerichtstr. 35 13347 Berlin

The conference will be held in English.

Admission: 5,50 € Tickets can purchased via our online pre-sale.
If any, remaining tickets  can be obtained on the day.

Members of the press intending to cover the event are asked to kindly register their interest by contacting