2012-02-14

Say goodbye...

...to storytelling. Never in the last five years has a program-motto been so present throughout the shorts like in 2012.

We are drifting in the ocean. Hectically animated spiral-drawings burn themselves in the viewer's eye, before big waves break and we briefly get lost underneath the sea surface. Without actors, the action varies in tempo and intensity, but ends as what it has started. The camera's perspective, drifting in the vast ocean.

Films like Uzushio (Whirling Current) are the focus of this year's short program. Some of them are build upon experimental elements, others show a more familiar pattern of shots. What all entries have in common is the deliberate renunciation of telling the story in a way that is reminiscent of conventional cinema. In 2012, the Shorts unfold situations and ideas with a certain rawness- often without the security of a classical dramatic structure supporting them.

This is a somewhat unfamiliar, at times even uncomfortable experience for the viewer. The pre-programmed formula that usually allows our subconscious to interpret the things we see on screen is gone. We are being torn out of our comfort zone.

And that makes for great conversations afterwards. "Is no story still a story, as long as they show something?", is just one of the questions we could hear the audience reflect over after the lights went up.

The title of Christoph Schlingensief's enrtry "Say goodbye to the story" seems to has lent itself to this year's Berlinale Shorts motto. The film's description speaks volumes about this year's program.

"Say goodbye to the Story" (Schlingensief/2011)
"A rain of nightmares: deleted scenes from a film that consists only of deleted scenes. Their most truthful moment is a dream sequence in which the agony of the first sequence dissolves in a frenzy only to come back and haunt the third sequence. Nothing is finished, not even the intertitles. Everything is becoming. Or decaying. Schlingensief is driven to despair by his actors who are in front of, thus in the way of, his camera. He curses, he dances through the picture, he repeats and repeats. He wipes the lens looking for the moment between the pictures.

(Translation by Raphael Keric / Picture: Poster "Say goodbye to the Story")