As we know, February is the month favored by lovers of the seventh art in the German capital, and not only for the renowned Berlinale film festival, but also for the many parallel events, including the Berlin Critics' Week 2022 or, in German, Woche der Kritik. As the name suggests, the festival was created with the aim of stimulating the critical sense of the public through conferences, debates, and a selection of international and experimental films.
The event, created in 2015 by the association of German film critics, is finally back offline for its eighth edition and Fetishnale, full of joy, awe and a necessary critical sense, could not fail to participate.
The festival ran from 9 to 17 February. During the opening conference (Is standstill forbidden? The sort of "progress" cinema needs - Is the state of stasis forbidden? The kind of "progress" that cinema needs) discussed the fate of the film industry and cinematographic movements that during the crisis have found new impetus or have instead become obsolete.
In these two years of pandemic, a phase of social, artistic and cultural stasis has been reached between one block and another, our customs have been suspended, if not even questioned. On the one hand the threat of stagnation, on the other the political and cultural idea of abandoning all old habits and daring more (progress). What, then, is the progress that cinema and society need? What if the same had the form of regression, revolution or deceleration? These are the themes widely addressed, but also: the structure of film festivals, Queer cinema, the role of the critic and much more.
The film program began on 10 February at the Hackesche Höfe Kino with Footage Fetish: two selected films, both by Brazilian and experimental directors. The first, the feature film Capitu and the Chapter, by the iconic and established, Júlio Bressane - a "deformation" (term used by the director himself) of the novel Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis. Between love and jealousy, between soap operas and poetry, desire and paranoia, we come to sodomy and masochism. The second, the short film shot in lockdown at a very low budget Venus in Nykes by newcomer André Antônio, where the record and only actor doubles up as a homosexual masochist fetishist and his transsexual psychotherapist. Full of aphorisms, club culture, online porn, Insta-erotica, the film is wrapped in a certain Queer mysticism. During the debate, interesting considerations emerged on the object of the fetish: the images or repertoire sequences. Widely used in both films, the directors discuss their origin and purpose.
The second night we attended was Libertine, a program of three films: The Stonebreakers by Azul Aizenberg (AR), Friday Night Stand by Jan Soldat (DE / AT) and Inu-Oh by Masaaki Yuasa (JP / CN).
The first short film questions what belongs to the history of cinema and tries to visualize the role and participation of women during the largest strike in Argentine history. The second short film shows us two men in a living room, eating, having sex and joking about food. The still room shows us two men enjoying their freedom in the walls of a living room. The third film, an animated and visionary feature film, shows us the origins of Japanese Nō theater in a musical rock version. Between liberation movements and a sense of libertinage, the debate discussed images (both missing and not) and the missing freedoms in film festivals.
Finally, we attended the closing evening of Berlin Critics' Week, Mythunderstanding, a program with two films. The first film - poem or lyric show by punk poet Khavn de la Cruz, Love is a Dog from Hell (PH / DE) where Orpea, the twin sister of Orpheus, searches for her beloved Eurydiko between Manila and the underworld, amidst hunger, poverty, drugs, violence and songs to bring him back to the world of the living. The second medium-length film Sycorax by Lois Patiño and Matías Piñeiro (ES / PT) traces the absent witch from Shakespeare's Tempest and 14 women at an audition follow that traces of her. The enigma has no solution, but it is magical. The debate discussed what really attracts filmmakers to myths and to the idea of rewriting them.
The conference and debates are featured on the event's YouTube channel.