Jan 15, 2024
Forms of Us
In the scope of the Berlinale Shorts competition, 20 short films enter into dialogue with one another and reflect on the status quo of our world today. Delicate pencil drawings meet unconventionally told fictions, personal essays encounter hyper-realistic computer animations and absurd humour rubs shoulders with critical analysis.
Capitalism is called into question aboard Noah's Arch (We Will Not Be the Last of Our Kind) and is submerged in a pink swamp (Pacific Vein), Argentina's economic crisis is met with dry irony (Un movimiento extraño) and the monarchy would happily see itself abolished (Preoperational Model). Animals disavow all forms of cuteness (Preoperational Model, We Will Not Be the Last of Our Kind) and prefer a life in the underground (Les animaux vont mieux). The personal reacts to the political and grapples with multiple questions. Does the city shape its inhabitants, or vice versa (Stadtmuseum / Moi Rai )? What responsibility does the individual bear in the face of war (Ungewollte Verwandtschaft)? And what does a life look like that is illuminated only by artificial light and digital devices (The Moon Also Rises)?
Memories rise to the surface: of a free society that no longer exists (City of Poets) and a family lunch back in the day (Re tian wu hou), of the personal experience of childhood cancer (Kaalkapje), of first love (Jing guo) or a departed friend (Oiseau de passage). Strangers accompany each other for a while (Kawauso), become united by fate (Circle, Tako Tsubo) or offer one another temporary support (Adieu tortue, Shi ri fang gu, That’s All From Me). Even in a complex world, it is possible to find a place for oneself (Al sol, lejos del centro).
“Sometimes we need to see what artists imagine in order to be able to envision how we might approach our challenging reality. These examples – be they among friends, in art or on the cinema screen - can help us to re-align the compass for our own actions”, as section head Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck comments. “Many of the films which were created last year – a year marked by wars, conflicts and hardening fronts on all sides – probably also devote themselves as a result to the questions: How do we want to approach, deal with and be there for one another? How do we forgive each other?”
Six of the selected works are by directors who have already contributed films to previous editions of Berlinale Shorts: Ulu Braun (2013, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2021), Akihito Izuhara (2010, 2012, 2016), Joung Yumi (2013, 2022) and Mili Pecherer (2020) have each remained true to their unmistakeable animation styles, while Eva Könnemann (2019) once again interweaves the seemingly autobiographical with the poetic. This year's work from Yuyan Wang on the other hand is diametrically opposed to the film which she presented in 2020.
The 14 world premieres and six international premieres are nominated for the Golden Bear for Best Short Film and the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film). In addition, the Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards will be selected. The prize-winners will be determined by a three-member international jury and revealed during the official Award Ceremony on February 24.
The Berlinale Shorts blog will feature interviews with the filmmakers and texts about their films.
January 15, 2024