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

Oberhausen Film Festival: Paradise in Ruins - Visual Art Activism

    You are here

    • You are here:
    • Home > Festival > Archive > Home > Films > Theme Programs > Oberhausen Film Festival: Paradise in Ruins - Visual Art Activism

Oberhausen Film Festival: Paradise in Ruins - Visual Art Activism

With the support of: 

 
Curatorial presentation by Adina Marin
Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival BIEFF continues its inspiring long-term collaboration with the legendary International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, offering again to the Romanian cinema buffs the chance to get acquainted with some of the most powerful samples of contemporary visual art activism, titles screened and awarded at the previous editions of Oberhausen. We live in a time of failed ideologies. Communism, National-Socialism, Capitalism, took turns in claiming to offer a clear way towards the perfect society, and they were all eventually found wanting. Under the theme Paradise in Ruins: Visual Art Activism, the films in this program cast a cinematic eye on a world so engrossed with finding its way towards a lost paradise that it fails to notice its own slide into neo-feudalist conditions of political and economic inequalities and inequities.

In Freedom & IndependenceBjørn Melhus questions the global ideological paradigm change to new forms of religious capitalism by confronting ideas of the self announced objectivist philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand with evangelical contents of US-American mainstream movies. This contemporary fairy tale in which Melhus performs all characters himself was partly shot in a Berlin morgue and new urban environments in Istanbul. In a tour de force that oscillates between musical, comedy, horror film and fairy tale this high definition trip trawls out our global psyche for stored conceptions of promises of salvation, childhood trauma and work ethic under the imperative of self-optimization.
 
Alex Gerbaulet's Shift moves down the shaft of memories, her own family's and those of the industrial city of Salzgitter, a once blooming project of National-Socialist Germany, home of the Reichswerke Hermann Göring and of the adjacent labour camps. Shift employs a rhythm crafting a feeling of implacability. Family and history events are concocted from archival propaganda pieces, newsreels, and family photos, and the remains of the mining-cum-steel works shot on location. Moving between layers, the recurrent figure of the widowed father joggs along deserted streets and eventually returns to an empty home, his wife having passed away some time ago after years of suffering from multiple sclerosis. The industrial city is gradually invalided by a multiple sclerosis of its own. Reduced to the representation of the ruins of a failed ideology, it faces a future grimmer still, since it is designed to become the ultimate disposal place for radioactive waste.
 
Gangster Backstage is Teboho Edkins' follow-up to Gangster Project, a film he completed a few years before, and for the making of which he ventured in one of Cape Town's most violent black townships where few white people dare to enter, to observe the life of real gansters at first hand. This time, instead of seeking the gangsters in their natural habitat, he summons them to the neutral setting of an empty classroom by lauching a casting call. Interviews, during which the characters talk candidly about the pros and cons of gangster life alternate with scenes in which they stage their fears and dreams, in a barren Dogville-like decor, with white tapes marking the claustrophobic outline of a prison cell. Between the torment of confinement and the omnipresent threat of an untimely death, these amoral human beings evolve in the South-African society, which has failed so far to come to terms with itself.

'Everything was good. Beyond the reach of all evils.' - a voice utters repeatedly and persuasively in the beginning of Max Philipp Schmid's film, hinting to a (lost) Paradise. Instead, the viewer is swept into an artificial greenhouse mimicking the Garden of Eden, where the Adam character is played by a middle-aged, middle class man leafing through a collection of index cards and occasionally reciting into a microphone quotes from The Bible, Rousseau, Der Spiegel, Hesiod, and a bunch of academics. The resulting discourse is a multi-faceted complex of ideas, retracing the history of the garden as the primordial protected place, from the literal meaning of the Persian word pairidaēza (enclosure) to the present societal tendency towards reclusion while longing for the lost paradise.
Directed by: 
BJØRN MELHUS
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)
Directed by: 
ALEX GERBAULET
Shift (Schicht). Shaft (Schacht). The voice-over alliterates the terms repetitiously, shifting layer after layer as Alex Gerbaulet moves down the shaft of memories, her own family's and those of the industrial city of Salzgitter, a once blooming project of National-Socialist Germany, home of the 'Reichswerke Hermann Göring' and of the adjacent labour camps. Shift employs a rhythm crafting a feeling of implacability. Family and history events are concocted from archival propaganda pieces, news reels, and family photos, and the remains of the mining-cum-steel works shot on location. Moving between layers, the recurrent figure of the widowed father joggs along deserted streets and eventually returns to an empty home, his wife having passed away some time ago after years of suffering from multiple sclerosis. The industrial city is gradually invalided by a multiple sclerosis of its own. Reduced to the representation of the ruins of a failed ideology, it faces a future grimmer still, since it is designed to become the ultimate disposal place for radioactive waste. (Adina Marin, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
MAX PHILIPP SCHMID
'Everything was good. Beyond the reach of all evils.' - a voice utters repeatedly and persuasively in the beginning of Max Philipp Schmid's film, hinting to a (lost) Paradise. Instead, the viewer is swept into an artificial greenhouse mimicking the Garden of Eden, where the Adam character is played by a middle-aged, middle class man leafing through a collection of index cards and occasionally reciting into a microphone quotes from The Bible, Rousseau, Der Spiegel, Hesiod, and a bunch of academics. The resulting discourse is a multi-faceted complex of ideas, retracing the history of the garden as the primordial protected place, from the literal meaning of the Persian word pairidaēza (enclosure) to the present societal tendency towards reclusion while longing for the lost paradise. (Adina Marin, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
TEBOHO EDKINS
Gangster Backstage is Teboho Edkins' follow-up to Gangster Project, a film he completed a few years before, and for the making of which he ventured in one of Cape Town's most violent black townships where few white people dare to enter, to observe the life of real gansters at first hand. This time, instead of seeking the gangsters in their natural habitat, he summons them to the neutral setting of an empty classroom by lauching a casting call. Interviews, during which the characters  talk candidly about the pros and cons of gangster life alternate with scenes in which they stage their fears and dreams, in a barren Dogville-like decor, with white tapes marking the claustrophobic outline of a prison cell. Between the torment of confinement and the omnipresent threat of an untimely death, these amoral human beings evolve in the South-African society, which has failed so far to come to terms with itself. (Adina Marin, BIEFF)