by Adela Lovric // Feb. 1, 2022
This year, Berlinale brings films back to the big screen. From February 10th to 20th, the leading international film festival once again welcomes professionals and enthusiasts from around the world to cinemas, art spaces and alternative venues across Berlin. This return to the usual in-person format is upheld as a way to honor the social role of cinema. In the words of festival co-director Carlo Chatrian: “If films claim and aspire to depict human beings and the world in which they live, they must address a community, an audience, and not a collection of users each with their own login.”
The scope of the 72nd festival program is similar to its pre-Covid 2020 edition. The vast number of featured films—about 400 of every genre, length and format—is divided into ten sections and special presentations. Traditionally, the Forum & Forum Expanded sections stands for reflections on the medium of film, socio-artistic discourse and a particular sense of the aesthetic. As an avant-garde, experimental program bordering art and film, it presents some of the most exciting positions challenging our understanding of the moving image.
Ideas of getting closer to the ground, to the bottom of things, and closely perceiving what surrounds us are central to the selection of films, installations and performances at the 17th Forum Expanded. Headed by Ala Younis and Ulrich Ziemons and co-curated by Karina Griffith, Shai Heredia and Maha Maamoun, this multifaceted program will occupy Kino Arsenal, silent green Kulturquartier, the Canadian Embassy, SAVVY Contemporary and, for the first time, the Zeiss-Großplanetarium. Below are some of the highlights picked out from the compelling line-up.
Mawena Yehouessi: ‘Sol in the Dark’
Potsdamer Straße 2, 10785 Berlin, click here for map
The Forum Expanded program at Kino Arsenal steers away from the industry’s commercial demands and accommodates filmmakers’ idiosyncratic approach to the medium. Among the stand-out films in the program is the world premiere of Mawena Yehouessi’s ‘Sol in the Dark,’ a multi-layered cinematic collage that summons the figure of ‘Lascar’—from South East Asian sailors enrolled on European colonial navies to 1990s second-generation immigrant BIPOC youth from the French outskirts—as an avatar for post-internet identities.
Liz Rosenfeld: ‘White Sands Crystal Foxes’
Screenings: Feb. 13; 9:30pm and Feb. 15; 7pm
Prenzlauer Allee 80, 10405 Berlin, click here for map
The new experimental cinema work by the Berlin-based filmmaker, performer and writer Liz Rosenfeld will be on view at Zeiss-Großplanetarium as a 360° immersive experience. In the face of the degeneration of nature and sustainable resources, set in a speculative future where foxes are the only species still capable of reproduction and crystals bursting with energy are obtained from human secretions, ‘White Sands Crystal Foxes’ takes the audience on a queer fantasy journey within a cruising fallout shelter. A performative reading by Rosenfeld will expand the film screening.
Group Exhibition: ‘Forum Expanded: Closer to the Ground’
silent green Kulturquartier
Soft Opening: Wednesday, Feb. 9; 4-10pm
Exhibition: Feb. 10-Mar. 13, 2022
Gerichtstraße 35, 13347 Berlin, click here for map
The group exhibition that couldn’t be shown in 2021 is now supplemented by additional works and presented at silent green’s Betonhalle. One of the anticipated premieres is Musquiqui Chihying’s installation ‘The Lighting,’ which explores how colonial, racist stereotypes become inscribed in image-creating technologies. Among other intriguing works is Grace Ndiritu’s ‘Black Beauty: For a Shamanic Cinema,’ a video installation that invites viewers to change their perspective on the environment, immigration and indigenous rights.
Pallavi Paul: ‘The Wind In Your Body Is Just Visiting, Your Breath Will Soon Be Thunder’
Opening Reception: Wednesday, Feb. 9; 3-10pm
Exhibition: Feb. 10-Mar. 6, 2022
Reinickendorfer Straße 17, 13347 Berlin, click here for map
In her solo exhibition, ‘The Wind In Your Body Is Just Visiting, Your Breath Will Soon Be Thunder,’ New Delhi-based artist, filmmaker and scholar Pallavi Paul visualizes the condition of breathlessness and suffocation through the medium of film. She draws parallels between multiple seemingly unconnected events from the past and the present—from WWI Germany, to Indian caste politics, to the ongoing pandemic—and explores how the life-sustaining act of breathing has repeatedly been politicized throughout history.
Charlton Diaz: ‘VCR’s Choice’
Marshall McLuhan Salon
Exhibition: Feb. 10-20, 2022
Leipziger Platz 17, 10117 Berlin, click here for map
The Marshall McLuhan Salon at the Embassy of Canada will serve as an additional exhibition venue, where the video piece ‘VCR’s Choice’ by Charlton Diaz will see its European premiere. The video carries out a process of queer media archaeology via obsolete VHS technology.
The complete Forum Expanded program can be found online via