Looking at the selection of films, several approaches I noticed last year reappeared as a new variation in this year’s programme. I’m thinking, for example, about the compilation film Long Live the New Flesh, which raises similar questions about medial materiality, as did Pure last year. Are you deliberately bringing back this topic, or is that a submission that was simply so good in terms of quality, that it had to be included in the programme?
Both are true: the theme is current and shows up in the films: every year there are a number of “found footage” films, that with their very own aesthetic which is inherent to the material, approach the issue of materiality in all its complexity and narration with scissors in hand. The Belgian artist Nicolas Provost will be represented at the Berlinale for the first time in 2010. Parallel to the festival, his works will also be shown in the Haunch of Venison gallery in Berlin. Long Live the New Flesh and Pure which ran last year, take a similar path both aesthetically and thematically. Both arrive at a visual explosion and thoroughly conjugate the issue of violence.
The directors of Derby (Paul Negoescu) and Out in that Deep Blue Sea (Kazik Radwanski) has been guests of Berlinale Shorts several times…
That’s true and I’m very happy about it. Paul Negoescu is getting stronger and stronger and even more reduced. Thematically, similar to Out in that Deep Blue Sea, his film raises decisive questions about the life of a middle-aged man in just a single scene. Through concentrated collaboration between the director and the actors the film raises questions on where you are in your life, what’s your place in society. Work with actors is especially noticeable and consistently good in the case of the Rumanian directors. Rehearsals with the actors often go on for weeks. This lends the films an unbelievable intensity. Out in that Deep Blue Sea is different again. The film develops the strong image of a person in a situation, in which he is confronted by himself. And so at the same time it manages to get the viewers to reflect upon themselves. All of this is through the staging, the decision to create very specific scenes during which the conflicts erupt in a visual language, which is even stronger compared to Princess Margaret Blvd. last year. The cinema motifs draw a picture of an existential condition that is basic to being human.
Films such as these draw me into their world, but then leave me with all the evocations they trigger. Not so much through long narration, but more through their cinematic motifs they draw a picture of an existential condition that is basic to being human. For this reason I am very glad that this year the film discussions in the Arsenal offer us an opportunity to discuss with the filmmakers. The entire trilogy by Kadzik Radwanski to which Out in That Deep Blue Sea belongs, will be shown at the Canadian Embassy followed by a panel discussion, enabling exchange.
In the case of many films with a documentary approach, one notices that they try to escape the classical conventions of documentary depiction. Tussilago, for example, works with very artistic, illustrative, imaginative forms. What inspires this special type of representation?
I think that formats like Tussilago by former Berlinale winner Jonas Odell ((Golden Bear 2006 for his short film Aldrig som första gangen!), which bring together illustrative elements with documentary forms are very close to current, popular trends in children’s book illustration. I see this type of transferal of form as a way of looking at socio-political phenomena. This very strong film, in formal terms, works with two-dimensional, visual layers and paper collages, resulting in a special feel. The choice of a collage aesthetic can also be seen in connection to Odell’s work in the genre of music videos. Besides, Tussilago has a very strong theme. For me this film is a document, that describes with great nonchalance a very problematic mentality, which dominated the discussions of the 1970s. And he finds wonderfully laconic images for political demonstrations of solidarity and armed resistance.