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berlin art film festival

Introducing: Berlin Art Film Festival

It was a mellow summer afternoon at the Stil in Berlin office when Mary Scherpe said something pretty much out of the blue: “Why don’t we do a film festival?” It wasn’t like I always had that in mind anyways plus I wouldn’t have suggested it by myself and so I just smiled with joy at the idea and Mary’s great suggestion. But what to show? My first idea was to link a festival to my weekly film column “Discover This” on Stil in Berlin and therfore to organize a re-run of all these films. But then a much better idea struck me as I browsed through the blog and thought about what it actually represents…

Copyright: missing films

Discover This: Art War

„Screw you world, we don’t need you, we’ll just make art!“ Bosaina is in tears after she has performed the song „Porn Police“ with her band Wetrobots at a nightclub in Cairo. She is wearing a leopard leotard and ironically sang about „satanic homosexuals“ and the sexual freedom of women when the crowd starting chanting „Erhal, erhal, erhal!“ which means „Go away!“ Bosaina, like the four other main protagonists of Art War, is trying to express herself creatively in Egypt during the difficult times that followed the Arab Spring. Her struggle and the verbal and physical fights of young Egyptian artists build the centre of a fast-paced and jazzy documentary that has been in Berlin cinemas for a week.

A portrait of Brian in disco, looking over his shoulder

Discover This: Land in Sicht

Welcome to Germany, foreigner! We like to call you “Ausländer”, because we find it very important to stress that you are from a country that is not ours. Our politicians create words like „Armutszuwanderung“ (poverty migration) to underline that you might be poor and needy, expecting Germany to help you. If you’re from Bulgaria or Romania, we mock your migration with expressions like „Sozialtourismus“ (social tourism) to make the nation aware that you only come here to profit from our social system. If your skin is black, we will ask you where you are really from, no matter if you were born here or if you are a war refugee. And, oh yeah, black man, be prepared for a large scale police operation on the subway if they find you without a ticket. You might be late for your meeting with the Senate.

Back portrait of Taryn

Discover This: I Used to Be Darker

The credits start rolling while Kim Taylor is still singing, holding a guitar in her arms, and expressing all her melancholy through a song that hasn’t left me since I first heard it: Days Like This. You look up at the sky above you/ Days like this/ You think about the ones that love you/All I wanna do is live my life honestly/ I just want to wake up and see your face next to me/ Every regret I have I will go set free / It will be good for me. I sighed, a little tear rolled down my face and later I came back for a second screening just to see and hear that song again.

Copyright: Peripher

Discover This: The Strange Little Cat

Some films are just too strange and beautiful to explain them. The Strange Little Cat is one of them. I just read a friend’s advice: “Don’t read anything about it beforehand, just go see it!” That’s what I did. So I decided not to write anything about it, for you to just go and see it. And just write down some simple phrases in simple English and try to seduce you to watch a film I have by now watched three times and could watch over and over again. A film like no other film you have seen before. Surely. A strange little film. A magical little film. The Strange Little Cat.