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March 14th–20th, 2016 / Cinema Muzeul Țăranului, Cinema Elvire Popesco, Universitatea Națională de Muzică / the 6th edition


Directed by: 
Cinema Muzeul Țăranului - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - 18:00
Cinema Elvire Popesco - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - 17:00
Cinema Muzeul Țăranului - Saturday, March 19, 2016 - 17:00
Written by: 
Bjørn Melhus
Bjørn Melhus
Eike Zuleeg
Bjørn Melhus
Max Schneider
Max Schneider
Yuki Jungesblut, Bjørn Melhus
Romanian Premiere
Part performance, part political critique, part genre film, yet 100% entertaining, Bjørn Melhus’ Freedom & Independence is a wonderfully witty and thought-provoking allegory of neoliberalism’s ideological folly. Guided by the voiceover proselytism of Ayn Rand, Freedom and Independence take on physical shape as they are sent to view the urban development of the future. Split between reality’s rational thought (Rand’s Objectivism) and theological faith (Hollywood melodrama), the titular protagonists reach an identity crisis. Although reigned back in by their ‘mother superior,’ their quest towards neoliberalism’s exigent individual empowerment ends with a song-and-dance of life’s most reliable Truth and constant: death. Wry, witty and wonderfully jubilant, Bjørn Melhus’ straight-faced film is a one-man show of cerebral activism. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)

Bjorn Melhus

Bjørn Melhus, born 1966, is a German-Norwegian media artist. In his work he has developed a singular position, expanding the possibilities for a critical reception of cinema and television. His practice of fragmentation, destruction, and reconstitution of well-known figures, topics, and strategies of the mass media opens up not only a network of new interpretations and critical commentaries, but also defines the relationship of mass media and viewer anew. Originally rooted in an experimental film context, Bjørn Melhus’ work has been shown and awarded at numerous international film festivals. He has held screenings at Tate Modern, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, amongst others, and has been exhibited in shows like The American Effect at the Whitney Museum New York, the 8th International Istanbul Biennial.

Festivals, awards: 
  • Sphinx Award for Best Video/Film - Videomedeja International Video Festival, Serbia 2015
  • Oberhausen International Film Festival
  • Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival
  • Hamburg International Short Film Festival
  • Cyprus International Film Festival
  • Winterthur International Short Film Festival
  • Berlin International Short Film Festival
  • Exground Film Fest
Curatorial comment:
Bjørn Melhus combines material from American movies such as Armageddon and Deep Impact with the controversial neoliberal ideas of the Russian-American writer and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982). As the author of Atlas Shrugged, Rand was at the forefront of influential, conservative think-tanks in the US. With her concept of ‘objectivism’, in which individual happiness trumps that of the community and the path to salvation lies in the privatisation and complete deregulation of the economy, she provided a philosophical foundation for neoliberal capitalism. Melhus portrays her as a tyrannical mistress, indoctrinating the two main protagonists of the film, Mister Freedom and Miss Independence, and a group of sick half-dead men in a mortuary with her philosophy on the free market. As in many of his films, Melhus addresses topics such as identity, religion, capitalism and globalisation. He exposes and caricatures in a very specific mix of fiction and non-fiction, in which he plays all the lead characters himself. He allows the audience to look at reality in a new light, from a distance; it’s uncanny, funny, but above all sharp. (STUK)