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The 19th edition of Forum Expanded presents 21 cinematic works from 21 countries. The selected films, installations and performances repeatedly draw our attention to communities — their constitution, their dreams, the breaking points they face, the dangers and constraints to which they are exposed. What becomes apparent here are the frequently convoluted ways in which these communities end up having to live in order to secure their continued existence. The works evoke solidarity, cohesion and hope by highlighting permanent connections — familial or elective affinities which subvert social norms. Everyday objects and materials are metaphorically repurposed as a means of exploring hidden networks whose multifaceted nodes become visible in unexpected places.

IN PRAISE OF SLOWNESS by Hicham Gardaf observes street vendors in Tangier selling liquid bleach. This specific profession is disappearing in the maelstrom of an ever-accelerating global economy. The slowness of the vendors and their characteristic shouts to advertise their wares comes across like a last physical manifestation of resistance.

Zhou Tao also examines economic expansion and its real-world effects in THE PERIPHERY OF THE BASE. In the Gobi Desert, an infrastructure project is under construction, whose massive scale seems to swallow up the people working there. The camera scans the desert wasteland and occasionally captures — as if by chance — small events and conversations between the migrant workers on the construction site.

HOLD ON TO HER by Robin Vanbesien focuses on self-organisation in the fight against government misconduct, as well as on care and solidarity in the face of deadly border regimes. It documents the collective efforts of a group of victims, activists and further supporters to process a case of police and state violence against migrants in Belgium: a little girl is killed by a police bullet during a car chase.

In her film DETOURS WHILE SPEAKING OF MONSTERS, Deniz Şimşek sets off in search of a sea monster that roams the imaginarium of her homeland: a work about the politics of mythology as well as the filmmaker’s relationship to her father.

Family relations and myths are also examined in GRANDMAMAUNTSISTERCATby Zuza Banasińska. Created from archival materials from communist Poland and drawing on the Slavic witch figure Baba Jaga, the film tells the story of a multispecies matriarchal family through the eyes of a child grappling with the reproduction of ideological and representational systems.

Far-reaching, hidden networks in the form of underground rhizomes and branching networks of fungi form the basis for the 16mm film performance NANACATEPEC by Azucena Losana and Elena Pardo. The two artists use multiple projections of films and objects to create an irresistible visual eddy of nature shots and shadow plays.

For the first time this year, the main hall of silent green’s underground Betonhalle will not be used for a group exhibition of film and video installations, but function instead as a 260-seat-cinema for Forum Expanded, Forum and Berlinale Shorts.

Installations remain part of the Forum Expanded programme however, with works installed in the adjacent rooms of Betonhalle.

Among the works shown is Prapat Jiwarangsan’s MYANMAR ANATOMY, a research on three sites in Yangon — Yangon Zoological Gardens, Yangon Circle Railway and the Drug Elimination Museum — which is juxtaposed with interviews with Burmese refugees. Also on view is the first release by Little Egypt Collective (Theresa Delsoin, Lisa Marie Malloy, J.P. Sniadecki, Ray Whitaker).ON THE BATTLEFIELD stages a sound recordist reconnecting with the flat fields where once stood Pyramid Courts – the housing projects that formed the heart of the Black community of the Little Egypt region of southern Illinois.

Forum Expanded is curated by Ala Younis and Ulrich Ziemons (section heads), as well as Karina Griffith and Shai Heredia.

The Forum Expanded programme on the Berlinale website with short descriptions

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media