Go West

Root Event

werkleitz Festival 2008 Amerika

Parent Event

Go West
UK 1993

The Pet Shop Boys’ cover version of the eponymous Village People song has been reinterpreted as a parody of the unification of systems after the fall of the Wall. In a certain sense, this clip can be considered the starting point of the Amerika festival: During the Festival of Short Films in Oberhausen in 2005, Shai Heredia, director of Experimenta, asked whether I wanted to present a selection of my program The Fallen Curtain with her in Bombay. There was just one problem: because of censorship, Indian audiences were unaccustomed to seeing sex on screen. This presented certain limitations for an experimental film festival. We removed the film Amami se vuoi from the program, which showed Michael Curran’s partner spitting into his open mouth, a provocative film even for Westerners. On the other hand, we left Stan Brakhage’s Window Water Baby Moving, which shows in close-up the minute details of giving birth. This was a work which in its time nearly caused Brakhage to be shot to death in the Midwest. The reaction to this movie in Bombay in 2006 was surprisingly similar to that in Germany: breathless silence. After all the programs were screened, I asked Shai whether there were any reactions to any of the films that had been shown. She said the people were very angry about Go West. It was American propaganda. In answer to my reply that the video was made in England and meant ironically, she remarked: Indians really did hate America, and they’d need quite a bit more than a little irony. In the ensuing discussions, all the mistakes made by this abysmally awful country were listed in detail. This attitude wasn’t terribly new, anti-Americanism is also fashionable in Germany.

Video, 4 Min