Dir.: Francina Carbonell, DOP: Ignacia Muñoz, CHI 2020, 73 min., Spanish OwEs – German Premiere

Saint Michael is considered the slayer of the devil in the guise of a fire-breathing dragon. A fire breaks out in San Miguel prison in Santiago de Chile on 8 December 2010, killing 81 inmates. THE SKY IS RED confronts the devil again. The camera glides through the crowded interior of the facility. Then the film jumps back years: archival images from surveillance cameras are intercut with photos, files, telephone recordings and court interrogations. The prisoners’ cries for help are overlaid like ghostly voices over images of an investigative re-enactment. The faces and voices of the desperate relatives waiting outside the prison melt into anonymous pixels. At monthly memorials, they bear witness to the fact that the state’s failure within this inhumane retributive system only crystallizes the vast and deep-rooted social injustices beyond its walls.


Dir.+DOP: Suneil Sanzgiri, USA/IND 2020, 17 min., Hindi/Urdu OwEs – German Premiere

It all begins in 1989, the year of Suneil Sanzgiri’s birth, during a conversation with his father about his family’s origins. Through archival images, 16mm footage and digital montages, the filmmaker’s personal story is interwoven with ideas of political resistance, exile and history, as well as biographies of poets, politicians and activists. Accompanied by a song by Pakistani resistance icon Iqbal Bano, the film unfurls a sensual space of resonance, linking traumas of the past to the intensity of the moment. The title is inspired by two letters: one is a poem by the Kashmiri-American writer Agha Shahid Ali, addressed to himself during his exile. The other was written by the director himself to a distant relative who is a former Communist Party of India chairman. In his audiovisual essay, Sanzgiri defends cinema as a timeless device for persistently questioning the world.

Debate: FACING TRACES – March 1, 8 PM

How can traumatic memories be explored in the creative process of filmmaking? In what kind of contexts can they be placed and how can they become productive? Which research procedure and which filmic form are appropriate for them? And in which way are traces of memory laid by the cinematic reappraisal itself? Through the choice of material, the use of stylistic devices, the reference back to biographies, or through the intensities and atmospheres of the finished film? A debate about snippets of truth and attitudes towards history.

Guests: Francina Carbonell, Suneil Sanzgiri, Ruth Beckermann, Volker Pantenburg
Moderation: Dennis Vetter

We present this programme in collaboration with the Ibero-American Institute.