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The series “Fiktionsbescheinigung” explores the question of how culture in general and cinema in particular are related to society and racism. It is dedicated to the work of Black directors and directors of colour in Germany and sees itself as an experiment in shared curatorial responsibility that also seeks to shine a spotlight on a chapter of German film production that has been unfairly neglected. “Fiktionsbescheinigung” started 2021 with a film program and an extensive online discussion set up. 
This time, the film selection was put together by curators Enoka Ayemba and Biene Pilavci, supported by Karina Griffith, Jacqueline Nsiah, Can Sungu and the Berlinale Forum selection committee. Six programmes consisting of short films and feature-length works bring together titles from four decades, including FREMD. YABAN. (2007) by Hakan Savaş Mican, with the wonderful Sema Poyraz in a key role, IN DER WÜSTE (1987), a feature by Rafael Fuster Pardo about two penniless artists in the still-divided Berlin, DRECKFRESSER (Dirt for Dinner, 2000) by Branwen Okpako, a documentary about a Black police officer in post-reunification Saxony, the essay films DIE LEERE MITTE (The Empty Center, 1998) and NORMALITÄT 1-10 (Normality 1-X, 2001), both by Hito Steyerl, and a film from Raoul Peck’s time as a student, MERRY CHRISTMAS DEUTSCHLAND ODER VORLESUNG ZUR GESCHICHTSTHEORIE II (1985).

The curators explain their selection in a statement: “The series sees itself as a snapshot of an ongoing, self-determined process of intervention and protest. Each of the films functions as a suggestion as to how the white German gaze can be countered with diverse, intersectional perspectives, with all of them having one thing in common: their own visual and textual practice of testimony from within, not from the margins.”

We’re interested in the question of belonging. Which films and which filmmakers are recognised and form part of film culture as a matter of course and which aren’t? — Enoka Ayemba

“It’s Not A One-Way Street, It’s About Collective Learning”

Portrait photos of Biene Pilavci, Enoka Ayemba and Cristina Nord.

“It’s Not A One-Way Street, It’s About Collective Learning”

Curators Biene Pilavci and Enoka Ayemba talk to Forum head Cristina Nord about reverse brain drains, freedom, strategic essentialism and collective learning.

Additional Forum Special Films

The eleven Fiktionsbescheinigung titles are joined by three further films that are either historical works now available in newly restored prints or reflect on the history of the Berlinale Forum. Med Hondo’s 1979 WEST INDIES OU LES NÈGRES MARRONS DE LA LIBERTÉ (West Indies. The Fugitive Slaves of Liberty) explores the transatlantic slave trade, the situation in the French Antilles and the immigration policies of the grande nation by way of a pared-down setting that spawns ever greater inventiveness. A sparse aesthetic rubs up against the flamboyance of a musical, the resultant friction producing a grotesque vision that has lost nothing of its bitter topicality.

Borhane Alaouié’s feature BEIRUT AL LIKA (Beirut the Encounter) is no less topical, even though it was made in 1981. A young woman is in the midst of leaving the civil-war-scarred city to head to America, without knowing whether she’ll stay six months or forever. There is also a young man who would like to see her again before she leaves, if it weren’t for the road blocks, bugged telephone connections and traffic jams. In crafting this melancholy sketch of a farewell, could Alaouié have had any idea that many Lebanese would find themselves in the same situation 41 years on?

Last, but not least, the Berlinale Forum also takes a look at its own history. Alice Agneskirchner’s film portrait KOMM MIT MIR IN DAS CINEMA – DIE GREGORS (Come With Me to the Cinema – The Gregors) is dedicated to Ulrich und Erika Gregor. With film excerpts, archive footage, re-enacted scenes and interviews, the Berlin director examines the biographies and considerable impact of these two legendary film curators without whom the Berlinale Forum would not exist.

Fiktionsbescheinigung Program 1

Program 2

Program 3

Program 4

Program 5

Program 6

Additional Films

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur