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Deutsche Filmfestivals. Berlinale 2020. Ein Rückblick von Sona Karapoghosyan.

13/05/2020 - 21/05/2020

Die Welt befindet sich zum größten Teil noch im Lockdown, aber unsere Selbstisolation bedeutet nicht, dass wir aufhören, Kunst zu erleben. Trotz oder mittels COVID-19 findet die Kunst zig neue Wege, sich auf die digitale Rezeption einzustellen. Wir und unsere Partner suchen seit dem nach innovativen Möglichkeiten, um unseren interessierten Publikum weiterhin Kunst-und Kultur zu vermitteln. Unsere ständig wachsende Liste der Online-Veranstaltungen wurde jetzt mit Reviews von aktuellen deutschen Filmfestivals bereichert.

Das Goethe-Institut beteiligt sich bereits seit 17 Jahren mit einem Filmprogramm am Golden Apricot Filmfestival mit dem Motto, eine Auswahl qualitativ wertvoller, neuer deutscher Filme zu zeigen. ​Dabei hilft uns auch die Kooperation mit unseren Partnern und Filmexperten aus Deutschland und Armenien. Hier nun ein Beitrag von Sona Karapoghosyan, die im Februar 2020 die Berlinale besucht und über drei deutsche Filme ihrer Wahl berichtet hat.


Sona Karapoghosyan ist Doktorandin der Staatlichen Universität Jerewan und leitet als freiberufliche Filmkritikerin und Programmiererin die Branchenplattform GAIFF Pro​ beim Golden Apricot Internationalen Filmfestival. Als Cinephile ist sie bei diversen Filmfestivals unterwegs, um nach den besten internationalen Filmen zu suchen und sie dem armenischen Publikum vorzustellen.

Berlinale is an accurate reflection of Berlin itself: it is widespread, diverse, has something for everyone. Diversity of geology, themes and genres is one of the idiosyncrasies of the festival which also includes art exhibitions, installations, workshops and the busiest film market. It is very challenging to dive into festival mood, especially if you are new to the city and elaborated “vein” of it, transportation system.

Considering my last year experience as an failure (only 12 films), I decided to leave for Berlin a month prior to the festival. This would help me integrate in the city and also, provide with an chance to attend pre-screenings for press-accredited professionals. And later, when my film-friends and immense Armenian delegation arrived, I would be able to make lighter schedule and advise them what not to watch. In addition, this year was going to be special since for the first time Armenia would have an official representation at the film market to present Armenian films and become a unique spot for “Armenian gatherings”.

70th Berlin International Film Festival became the last biggest cultural event of this year before all the festivals had been postponed or moved to online platforms. With nostalgic memories of crazy festival days, I created a list of German films selected from different programs of the festival and as already mentioned, there is something for every taste.




SCHLINGENSIEF. THE VOICE THAT SHOOK THE SILENCE, presented in the Panorama section of Berlinale 2020, is directed by Bettina Böhler, well-known for her editing credits in films such as HANNA ARENDH (dir. Margarethe von Trotta), TRANSIT, PHOENIX (dir. Christian Petzold), etc. Using her excellent editing skills Bettina collected and edited archival footage dedicated to Christoph Schlingensief and through juxtaposing this material with film scenes and recordings from the director’s  personal archive, she created a comprehensive and complete portrait of one of the most scandalous and vivid figures in the history of German art. Nonconformist Schlingensief, who could throw a bucket of dead fish on a hated politician or turn his own “death diaries” into an art installation and posthumously receive the Golden Lion for Best National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, is presented as he was in real life – creative, witty, unselfconscious and straightforward. Having more than 200 hours’ worth of archival footage at her disposal, Bettina assembled a 2-hour film, conveying Schlingensief’s audacity, defiance and humor. Due to her previous experiences of collaborating with Christoph, Bettina manages to remain loyal to the eccentric director’s vision, reflecting it even in the film’s title: “the voice that shook the silence”. These few words brilliantly encapsulate Christoph Schlingensief’s whole artistic journey, who merely wanted to shake up European society, slumbering in apathy and refusing to open its eyes to the truth.


UNDINE (dir. Christian Petzold)

Everyone knows the legend of Undine, the water spirit. A mermaid dreams of becoming human and living on land. However in order to save her immortal soul, she has to marry a man. And if the man betrays her, she has to kill her beloved; otherwise she will turn into seafoam… In Christian Petzold’s enthralling world, the mermaid (Paula Beer) meets Johannes (Franz Rogowski) and decides to challenge this prerequisite. In his new film Petzold speaks of love seen only in fairytales and the impossibility of breaking the cycles of enchantment. Here all visible and invisible boundaries between imagination and reality evaporate and the only thing remaining is love. This world is imbued with magical realism, transcendental whispers pierce the hyper-reality and the green swamp water sweeps the heroes to erase their memories, heal their wounds.

UNDINE is just the first part of Petzold’s planned trilogy, which will be followed by films about the spirits of air and earth.


Naked animals (Melanie Waelde, 2020)

One of the novelties of Berlinale 2020 was the new competitive program called Encounters, defined by festival director Carlo Chatrian as “the mirror of the 21st century”. It was promised to include films that “convey new breath and challenge traditional cinema language”. Without a doubt, films presented in the program were audacious and significantly different from the main selection. NAKED ANIMALS, the debut film by Melanie Waelde, was one of these daring works that told the story of five friends – Katja, Sascha, Benni, Laila and Schöller, living their last months of school. Lost in the border between adolescence and adulthood, this group of five is moving forward, fumbling in darkness without an inkling of what awaits them in the future, but also without a drop of fear of that. Waelde builds the fable around Katja, who is practicing jiu-jitsu, thus bringing to light the physical strength of women and exploring the reaction to it. While erasing all spatial-temporal details and staging the story in a Neverland of sorts, the director creates an unconventional dis/topian environment, where parents don’t exist and love, rudeness, violence, reciprocal care and support are the base of the group tissue,  a tissue so solid, that knits them in one body. And this body is young, yet raw, wild, yet defenseless as a naked animal, taking its first steps in life.