Wieland Speck, head of the Panorama section, looking at this year’s film selection, emphasises a return to classical narrative forms and genres. “That is by no means the same thing as tame subject matter. Just the opposite is the case. Through a clarity of form, the subject matter gains in strength.” In this sense, the programme showed a strong thematic orientation towards contemporary socio-political issues, which were addressed in both documentaries and artistic films. The issues of diversity and how to approach diversity which have had a long tradition in Panorama again played a prominent role in 2008 and gave audiences diverse perspectives on problems that are a permanent fixture in the daily lives of many.
On the one hand, filmgoers sometimes complain these days that too few films run for too short a time in the cinema. On the other hand, it’s becoming more and more difficult for distributors and cinema operators to select films. Does Panorama see itself as orientation and barometer for current trends?
Yes. You could put it this way: “People, concentrate on this programme and you’ll have good films in the cinema well into the summer” (laughs).
What trends stand out this year?
One very audience-friendly trend is the tendency towards clear structures and narratives. We’re seeing a kind of return to genre, classical narratives and atmospheric storytelling that gets by without much dialogue. These are the three formal elements that stand this year and which I find very positive.
How can one explain the resurgence of classical forms and genres? Does the fact that hard-to-digest arthouse and auteur films are having a harder time surviving amidst the massive choice on the market perhaps play a role?
I think that the zeitgeist is getting slowly a bit tired from being overwhelmed by – expressed negatively – arbitrariness, or – expressed positively – diverse innovation on all levels. Genre structure offers a framework within which one can move freely. It defines what is required by a narrative, from the script to the camera work and editing. Within this (formal) framework, subject matter can be addressed in an individual style which is still accessible to everyone.
Can you give us a few examples?