Forum & Forum Expanded
Jan 09, 2024
Relations & Resistance: The 2024 Forum Special
This year’s Forum Special is dedicated to films that show a stance – whether in the 1970s or 2023. Programmed around a documentary core, these films find different, often playful approaches to resisting silence and forgetting. They draw on allies, relationships and intimacy, listen to others and find ways of expressing their own. They are transgenerational, activist-minded, creative and persistent.
The nature of resistance – whether political, social, ecological or economic – is once again a subject of debate. “It was often particularly loud, dominant voices”, as section head Barbara Wurm puts it, “who were able to make themselves heard within cinema and film history: warning or analysing, individualistic and masterly discoursive. With Relations & Resistance, we want to hone the gaze for less obvious forms of argumentation in film, the sort of small gestures that can be quiet or modest in tone; for a cinema dedicated to the innocuous locations or overlooked eras of political resistance that deals with extended periods in life and persistence, thinks in terms of solidarity and transgenerational dialogue and questions what needs to be questioned: bodies and violence, roles and complicity.”
Six film programmes stand for themselves here, and yet offer points of connection – also with the Forum main programme: cinema with a sharpened social sense is also a cinema of intergenerational awareness, at once collective and relational, both in front of and behind the camera.
Two films from 2023 make the start: Deda-Shvili an rame ar aris arasodes bolomde bneli (Mother and Daughter, or the Night is Never Complete) by Georgian director Lana Gogoberidze, 95, which she co-directed with her daughter Salomé Alexi, and Doesarananeun moksori / Yomigaeru Koe (Voices of the Silenced) by the 88-year-old Park Soo-nam, a Korean director who lives in Japan and also co-directed the film with her daughter Park Maeui. Both are mother-and-daughter films, both look back at the past with a suitable sense of trust and are at the same time highly topical commentaries on our political present. Both set their sights on experiences of violence and mark out the contours of scarred matriarchies as their directors revisit their own filmmaking careers – and in the case of Gogoberidze, also that of the mother, Nutsa.
Voices getting heard, solidarity-based communities and reflections on the role of media also characterise two further documentaries. The digital restoration of Techqua Ikachi, Land - mein Leben (Techqua Ikachi, Land - My Life, 1989) carried out by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art showcases a film that was made as a cry for help when Hopi elder James Danaqyumtewa invited Swiss artists Agnes Barmettler and Anka Schmid to Arizona to preserve the rituals and customs of the Hopi community of Hotevilla, which were already disappearing. Their Indigenous culture and way of life were first destroyed by the church, later by the US government. A collage of Super 8, animation and observation.
Diese Tage in Terezín (Those Days in Terezín) by Sibylle Schönemann (Forum 1997) also deals with intergenerational dialogue and the importance of not forgetting. It was made in the wake of the screening of her film Verriegelte Zeit in Jerusalem. She approaches the Shoah with author Lena Makarova and Israeli singer Victoria Hanna Gabbay – the three of them wander through the streets of Terezín on the trail of Karel Švenk, a cabaret artist known in the ghetto as the “Chaplin of Theresienstadt”. Historical experience-based knowledge emerges from each encounter; at the end they sing the Theresienstadt March together. A gesture of resistance.
Inspired by Mit einem Tiger schlafen (Sleeping with a Tiger) from the main programme, the Forum Special is showing ten short films by Maria Lassnig (Forum 1979). Gratifying frictions, lively critiques, wonderful ideas, hand-drawn and sung by the director herself. Kaddu Beykat (Letter from My Village), the sixth programme part shown in the Special, also screened at the Forum already (1976). It made the Senegalese director famous, who died a year ago: together with her daughter, Zeïba Monod, and Raoul Peck we will be commemorating Safi Faye. An event organised by Forum and HKW, in cooperation with the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme.
January 9, 2024