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Two characters appear in a minimalist, chilly setting. Their verbal remarks form a drastic speech directed at a counterpart who remains invisible and mute. From the first uttered sentence, a maelstrom develops into the hard-to-bear reality of human cruelty. The two men were significantly involved in crimes against humanity and now give an uninhibited account of their actions and their motives. The uncanny ordinariness of their formulations is repeatedly intermingled with terms that open up a horizon of historical references. DE FACTO does not simply present two perpetrators, but offers a scenic reflection on perpetration and the socio-psychological dimensions of mass violence.

The dramatis personae are not individuals but art figures to be read, formed from a multitude of condensed and interwoven testimonies of documented genocidal crimes. With incredible force, the film makes the afterlife of violence as tangible as its threatening topicality only through the spoken word and its embodiment. Selma Doborac has succeeded in making an extraordinary and highly intense film that, like hardly any other before it, makes us think philosophically about destructive (group) dynamics and the inhuman in human beings. DE FACTO intervenes in our tendency to repress the unpleasant but necessary confrontation with mass violence. It enables a new form of artistic witnessing that also challenges our belief in justice.

Statement by the jurors Borjana Gaković (Sinema Transtopia Berlin), Janna Schmidt (CITY 46, Municipal Cinema Bremen e.V.) and Silvia Bahl (filmdienst.de, media partner)

Funded by:

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