Short films, big subjects: the works of this year’s Berlinale Shorts selection revolve around participation, power, and remembrance culture, but they also treat struggles over the distribution of resources, love and trauma – what is it about the short film format in particular that makes it so exciting for subjects that are as highly charged as these?
Well, what’s exciting for me is the fact that the short film format moves you by cutting right to the heart of a subject in such a concentrated way – within a sort of miniature. And big subjects also have this core, this poetic essence...expansive stories do too actually. The short film sets out in search of that essence. And it succeeds in finding it time and again.
Beyond Antiquated Framing
It is striking that films such as Blue Boy, which is about prostitution, approach their subjects in a consciously sober and calm way.
In cinema, of course it always looks exciting when you show the world of street prostitution, the strip. It immediately brings up all the old clichés: the poor, the violence, all that drama. But when you take away these images for a second and look the fact in the eye that there are plenty of people offering a service and plenty of people that wish to take advantage of this offer, then you might have to ask yourself where the problem actually lies. Why is this work valued so differently than a job in an office? Who is responsible for creating this scheme of things, and do we want to continue to adopt it as our own at all?