Grain in Squares

Day two of the Berlinale shorts has confirmed a trend against the trend. Spotlessly produced HD pictures are remarkably under-represented this year; even widescreen formats are no longer the norm.

As different as the Berlinale short films are this year, so diverse are the selected output formats. This is good, it has always been that way. 2014 is dominated by a variety of grainy material. 

In several films we experience the nostalgic grain of old 16mm-cameras of the Bolex brand which ironically released a digital version recently. The screen is being reduced to a square over and over again. How refreshing it is to see some widescreen entrants, a format we have long taken for granted.

Some contenders show lots of film-grain noise which leads to the assumption their films were shot on simple camcorders or smartphone cameras. Non-fictional formats do not hide their origin, the fictive ones try to conceal it.
"Sharper than reality" is what happens, not the way it looks
Optical Sound just seems like one big mistake, a long loop of alienated test images supported by scraps of sound, arranged as an abstract construct. Unbearable for some viewers, as the reactions around us showed.

Person to Person, which could not have been filmed more unexcitedly and down to earth represented the downright “classic“ American independent film shortly after. Skilful normality - a welcome change as an outsider.