‘Touching Politics’ offers a special perspective on the history of experimental and political cinema. Curated along thematic lines, the series shows short films throughout the 20th century that present an outstanding synthesis of artistic vision and political engagement, of autobiographical approaches and social contexts. Films that radically articulate resistance to social conventions, that can also be understood as a plea for cultural or sexual self-determination. Films that achieve their political meaning by breaking with narrative traditions and by exposing the fusion of reality and fiction in film representation.
The history of experimental film has always been marked with the urge to get around the institution of commercial narrative cinema and the viewing practices and pre-conceived ideas of its audience. Other films have focused on contents that were taboo at the time of their creation, above all those related to the representation of sexuality. In this connection, questions of the represent ability of reality outside of socially produced power and representational relationships have continually arisen. Creating one’s own image of the world has meant first of all to be conscious of the structures written into the medium. Alongside this reflection on the material and social conditions of filmmaking in a world increasingly governed by symbolic images, the short film has served as a successful means of political agitation and education. Collective production processes were time and again posed as alternatives to the principle of individual authorship.
‘Touching Politics’ combines classics of the film avant-garde with rarely screened experimental, documentary and animation films. The program is an adaptation of a touring program of the same title that Florian Wüst made for the Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek, Berlin, earlier this year. The archive and distribution of the Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek (founded in 1963) possess an extensive collection of historical and contemporary feature, documentary and experimental films that not only stick out in their unconventional forms, but also engage with political and social themes. This particular aspect of the collection is the context for ‘Touching Politics’, which presents in five programs 27 international short films between 1926-1994. At the Impakt Festival, three programs of the original series are presented unchanged, while one program, ‘Economy of the Modern’, is rearranged and complemented with films by Herman
van der Horst, Arthur Lipsett and Newsreel.
Florian Wüst― Curator
Florian Wüst is an artist and independent film curator based in Berlin. He has been a regular contributor to the Impakt Festival. Besides curating film programmes for international venues, Wüst frequently writes and lectures about topics related to film and society. Together with Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, he is editor of Who says concrete doesn’t burn, have you tried? West Berlin Film in the ’80s (2008).