Focus

Around 120 new and historical films, performances and discussions are part of the programme at Dortmund | Cologne International Women's Film Festival 2019. Numerous guests from the German and international film business are expected to attend the various events.

The Festival's focus entitled Image Traps: Illusion, Camouflage, Masquerade showcases a series of film programmes that require viewers to watch particularly closely. The films play a game of hide-and-seek with their audiences, which is about optical illusions, mimicry and camouflage, in short, ambivalence and ambiguity. The programme encompasses a wide variety of films and includes historical treasures, rediscovered classics and the latest releases from various genres, first and foremost animated and fantasy films, but also comedy, short and experimental films as well as mockumentaries.

An image trap snaps shut whenever viewers take what they have been shown at face value. The slippery path along which the films lead them triggers questions about content and filmic elements: Is this character only what he or she purports to be? Is this plot really the only storyline? Is this a purely traditional film? What's behind it? More important than the first glance is the second, when camouflages are recognised and double characters exposed. This means Festival visitors have to be alert and active if they want to avoid being tricked by the images. The film still has an ace up its sleeve.

The Festival uses this subject to question the authenticity of 'originals' and 'copies', or what we refer to as 'genuine' and 'fake'. "Imagine there wasn't such a thing as authenticity," suggests Maxa Zoller, the Festival's new Artistic Director. "And that instead there were all kinds of moulds whose casts we would carry around with us for a while. Let's call them 'traditions'. But these would also change their form repeatedly." Its time to loosen up conflicting structural orders, especially in Germany, says Zoller. In the debate about the social and cultural significance of gender concepts and more generally diversity, Germany occupies only the middle ground in Europe. As an international festival, Dortmund | Cologne IWFF aims to offer an insight into the diversity of this subject in order to open up rigid structures and create space for new developments.