Preview: Panorama & desired! – filmlust queer

Las hijas del fuego (AR 2018, Dir: Albertina Carri)

»Panorama« and the queer Section »desired! filmlust queer« are the heart of the Cologne's festival edition.

The films in the Panorama section ask, ‘Where are we right now?’ Where are we heading for next? With powerful images on the big screen, both young and established female directors cast a sharp eye over our society. Their documentary films feature autobiographical elements combined with archive research and discourse-analytical essays, blended with a dose of irony, landscape images and portraits, and text/image combinations that present us with a view of the world turned on its head. Festival Director Dr. Maxa Zoller is convinced: “The Panorama films showcase the women film-makers of the future, who challenge the norms that the mainstream and media will have us believe.”

Transnational, analytical and vigilant – that is the Germany presented to us by the Panorama programme. For Janna Ji Wonder’s documentary Walchensee Forever, a house on the Walchensee lake in the foothills of the Alps serves as the starting point for an autobiographical reappraisal spanning five generations. Wonders trawls the family archive and conversations with her mother to look for images and memories to help her put the mystery of her tragically deceased aunt into words. The film recounts the 20th century from a transgenerational perspective and takes in hippie dreams and drug experiences as they were lived from Bavaria’s alpine foothills to San Francisco, an Indian ashram and Commune 1.

Weed, alcohol, speed, coke – all things that Kevin, David and Dominik have experience of in abundance. Friederike Güssefeld’s Out of Place focuses on these teenagers, classified as “beyond integration”, who now spend their youth living and working on the farms of Romanian farming families. An educational project in a globalised world, that just needs to be observed and where interviews are absent.

Narges Kalhor’s In the Name of Scheherazade or the First Beer Garden in Tehran is a toast to creative storytelling in troubled times. Repeatedly seen only in terms of her cultural background, the HFF Munich student’s scope for creativity seems narrow. The tried-and-tested tools of comedy – humour, chaos, slapstick – help Narges and her film break through rigid structures and demonstrate resistance in the form of collective laughter.

In JOHANNA DOHNAL – Visionary of Feminism, Sabine Derflinger portrays Johanna Dohnal, who became the first Austrian Minister for Women's Affairs in 1990. Issues simply taken for granted today, such as child custody, laws against sexual harassment and the compatibility of work and family life, were all part of the political struggle of this female politician, often cited as a “superhero of lesbian feminine rights”.

Ute Adamczewski's experimental, minimalist documentary State and Terrain focuses on so-called wild concentration camps.  They were set up suddenly and provisionally after 1933, many of them in Saxony – at the time a stronghold of the labour movement. The tight cinematic framework into which Adamczewski forces the vigour of her research makes this film an extremely intense experience. It is the product of a generation alert to the need to counteract the right-wing movement in German society.

The feature films in the Panorama section are complemented by two short-film programmes and the legendary Film All-Nighter, which guarantees hours of entertainment, with 15 films and a performance event. Subjects here include throat singing in Kangirsuk, dance as a form resistance, rapperhood in Comton, the colour blue, or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s view of the world. The Lecture Performance People Suck But It’s Okay Because Cats by Julia Nitschke provides an in-depth analysis of the cat video genre.

desired! – filmlust queer

Lust, intimacy and sexuality. Boundaries, landscapes and spaces. Impermanence, sickness and self-determination – these are the issues addressed in the section desired! – filmlust queer. The main strength of these films, which show stories from a lesbian, genderqueer and trans perspective, is the daring to focus on the vulnerable body. Experimental short films, three long documentaries and two feature films break with the norms of art, broaden our understanding of the body and find powerful images for it.

Lana Lin's documentary The Cancer Journal Revisited is a reunion with black, lesbian, feminist poet Audre Lorde. 27 women artists and activists read Audre Lorde's legendary "Cancer Journals" diary from queer-of-colour perspectives and re-stage it as a document of a queer-feminist speaking of sickness, pain and finality. In collaboration with the federal state working group, Lesben NRW.

The point where (feminist) art history ends is where the documentary Queer Genius begins. It’s an exciting and unusual portrait of a woman artist: the film presents five queer female artists in experimental episodes – including Barbara Hammer and Rasheedah Phillips – who all work with very different materials and media. Jeanie Finlay’s Seahorse – The Dad That Gave Birth is a documentary about masculinity, body and birth. How does it feel to carry a child as a trans man? The protagonist is confronted with his own ideas and those of others about gender assignments and parenthood. Then, with courage and passion, he decides to go for pregnancy and all its challenges.

Patricia Ortega's impressive feature film Being Impossible tells the story of Ariel, born as an intersexual baby. In powerful, metaphorical images, the film channels the emotional circumstances of Ariel, who learns to assert the story of her body and her own desires as the story unfolds. A highly relevant, touching film about social taboos regarding non-binary bodies. Las Hijas del Fuego by Albertina Carri is a lesbian-feminist road movie. A couple set off on a journey together with another woman. Against a backdrop of beautiful landscapes, they explore themselves and their lust and invite more and more women to join them. The result is a porn film that also poses the question of when pictures become pornographic images. The section is rounded off with the lesbian-feminist trilogy Amber Bemak/Nadia Granados Trilogy on boundaries, landscape and the body, plus an experimental short-film programme.

You'll find the full programme online on February 19th on our website.

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