Übergordnete Werke und Veranstaltungen


Fear in the black box


The cinema is a popular place for anyone in search of a fear kick. A cinemagoer can indulge in the most terrible scenarios – in thrillers and in war, horror or catastrophe films – without any risk of personal injury. He may perhaps forget to eat his popcorn for a moment. Yet other films about fear exist too. This programme turns the spotlight on them. In The Secret ServicesCinema we show the Stasi’s training films, none of which was ever intended for the public eye: strange and often, unintentionally comic documents that do little more than hint at the suffering inflicted by surveillance professionals aka amateur filmmakers on the people caught in their sights.

The films Abraham – An Attempt and Repetition reflect on two psychological trials that were dreadful in the truest sense of that word: the Milgram respectively the Stanford experiment, the one in an “authentic” documentary format, the other as a staged reenactment. The Japanese, lately rediscovered classic silent film, A Page of Madness, which we will present with a “benshi” (film commentator) and live music accompaniment, draws the viewer as deeply into the abyss of the human soul as does the “manic” Super-8 art film Apologies. The very personal documentaries A million in debt is normal, my grandfather says, A Stranger in Her Own City and Boys address the fears of becoming an adult from the perspective of totally different social groups while the programme Fear Within and The Remaining War report on the long-lasting damage wrought on human beings by violence and war. The large, dark and “living” expanse of Cuero vivo on the other hand seems to address human beings’ primordial anxiety directly. The above are countered in part by ironic self-portraits from artists who subject themselves voluntarily and to the delight of their audience, to the most absurd fearful situations, take the police all too literally as a “friend and helper”, or replay the media’s catastrophe scenarios in a small-scale model format.

Two guest curators enhance this year’s Festival with their selections and expertise: Karin Fritzsche (Berlin), co-founder and curator of the Film Festival Cottbus and co-editor of the classic book GegenbilderFilmische Subversion in der DDR (Counter-images: Cinematic Subversion in the GDR); and Brent Klinkum (Caen), founder and director of Transat Vidéo, and a member of the acquisitions committee of the New Media Collection at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

The film programme in its entirety covers ninety years of cinema history and presents a diverse range of formats: feature, documentary and experimental films, artistic videos, training and advertising films and even one wholly abstract film. Fifty-six very different artistic perspectives give rise thus to an entire cosmos of fear in the black box.

Marcel Schwierin