Curating a film programme means discussing, making associations, giving shape to things. This magazine, which we are publishing for the first time this year (a more detailed version of which is appearing in print), is not about presenting our programme. Instead, it’s supposed to offer some spontaneous impressions of the wealth of references that came to mind during the selection process. The different pieces chosen to this end are not about attempting to show the whole picture, just as these notes to accompany this table of contents are not meant as a foreword, but rather as a few scattered thoughts.
Rudolf Thome’s text “Description of a Method” was taken from a Forum film sheet from 1979. The Forum film sheets used to be typed out by hand and passed around at every screening; later they were combined to form a catalogue and can now be downloaded on the Internet as PDFs. Since the very first edition of the Forum in 1971, they’ve included comprehensive texts aimed at placing the films in the programme within a broader aesthetic and political context.
Jia Zhangke’s debut film XIAO WU (PICKPOCKET) was the spark that ignited a new Chinese cinema beyond state structures and received its world premiere at the 1998 Forum. Just four years later, we showed a total of 13 independently produced films from Mainland China. Yet today, commercial cinema is increasingly threatening to swallow up artistic film. Jia Zhangke continues to resist this tendency as both a director and a producer. Interview by Jacob Wong
The Forum has been committed to the idea of expanded cinema since its very foundation. In 2006, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus and Anselm Franke brought the Forum Expanded programme into being, which has a new theme every year. Helmut Draxler will talk about this year’s theme in a keynote lecture, with a summary appearing here as a preview.
The "Politique des auteurs" places individual films within the context of an entire oeuvre. But does that only apply to directors? Aren’t actress Kate Lyn Sheil and cinematographer Sean Price Williams just as much the authors of their works? A conversation about images and creative scenes
The Forum and Arsenal don’t just form a unit in organisational terms; the possibilities of the one are realised within the context of the other. The outline of a lengthy history
It’s hard to remember another year when cinema from the Arab world was so strongly represented in the Forum and Forum Expanded programmes. We would like to have shown the film JELLYFISH by Berlin-based Syrian director Khaled Abdulwahed, but were unable to do so in order to protect his protagonists. Here the artist describes an absent work.
An archive can also exist in the mind, as a possibility, or in the memory. Such as the film archive set up in Lagos following Nigeria’s independence, of which at first glance little else remains other than tin cans full of film rolls that have already chemically decomposed: Visionary Archives 2
You can’t plan a programme focus in advance and proportionality is not a good counsellor for an international programme. Alongside Portugal and Israel, it was Mexico that really stood out this year. A look at contemporary Mexican cinema by Gonzalo de Pedro Amatria
The Arsenal archive at the silent green kulturquartier in Wedding houses around ten thousand film prints, many of which were shown during the Forum’s early years. At the Berlinale, it will be possible to unearth some of these treasures, with the current programme functioning as a map of sorts: Film pool A-Z
It’s not about making political films, but rather making films politically. A well-worn adage perhaps, but how does a filmmaker explain to those holding the purse strings that the best thing for his film is to defy their expectations? Philip Scheffner dared to do precisely that for his film HAVARIE. A statement