Similar is the case of the great feminist Catherine Breillat, who showed her first film Tapage Nocturne with Joe Dallesandro in our first year in 1980 and is represented this year by her new film about Barbe bleue (Blue Beard). Dallesandro is also coming to Berlin with the new film portrait Little Joe. And so the interconnections don’t only apply to queer themes this year, but also connect to the feminist world. Two things that are observable side by side, which always benefit an emancipated worldview and analysis.
The second anniversary that the section is celebrating is ten years of the Panorama Audience Award. The honour has become a downright authority, which enjoys a high standing among filmmakers. This year, all previous winners will be shown again. Seen side by side, can you identify a trend?
Not directly. But it is interesting to look at which films actually won. Especially in light of the competing films, some of the results are surprising. There are several documentaries which managed to come out ahead of features films even though they tackled very specific or different topics. This shows the kind of audience in this city, which, at the end of the day, is a defining feature of the festival. The filmgoers don’t necessarily ask for easy-to-consume material, but prefer to grapple with every type of content. The viewpoint of such an audience for our films is part of the pleasure of working for the festival.
Vision of the radical
In a press release you wrote that cinema promises to again become “more radical, riskier and more inspired”. Which means, as well, that independent productions have the advantage. Where are these qualities found in the programme?
Mid-level film production has been strongly affected by the current economic situation. Especially the art-house segment, which has produced so many well-made films, will see significant cutbacks. Truly independent projects are less affected by the worsened economic conditions. We hope of course, that a radical vision will emerge from here. By this, we don’t necessary mean the next generation of filmmakers. The vision can just as well be realised by directors who have long worked at this level. This is true for Catherine Breillat, but also John Greyson from Canada, who has often been with us. His film this year, Fig Trees, is an extremely challenging work, absolutely innovative, both politically and aesthetically. The film scene needs this urgently: to develop the language of film, to give it a foundation and a background.
A representative of the next generation is, for example, Panos Koutras from Greece, who is showing his film Strella. More than most other Greek filmmakers, he is, with his generation, linked to an attitude of rebellion. Interestingly, his film is based on a very classical narrative structure closely linked to Greek tragedy, but with a very modern ending. Strella is a good example of, on the one hand, history in a grand context, and, on the other hand, being able to see its effect on individual lives. With his narrative form, Koutras reflects a traditional history and at the same time looks at modern Europe.