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INNOVATIVE: Experimental short films occupy the main scenes in the Berlinale 2019.

Berlin does things its own way. Last year, at the venerable film festival in the hipster capital, the jury created a lot of furor by giving the Golden Bear a hybrid film that linked documentary and fiction, an outsider film that few thought of as an important award candidate: Adina Pintile's intimate essay on sexuality and body image, Touch Me Not. Twelve months later, the three-man field responsible for assigning the festival's short film variant – also a golden bear – went even further.

Koyo Kouoh (Senegal), Vanja Kaludjercic (Croatia) and Jeffrey Bowers (USA) decided on a non-narrative experimental candidate, which is a bold choice for a festival with such a high profile. Umbra by the German duo Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell is a semi-abstract, alluringly enigmatic 20 minute exploration of natural darkness, where they especially take advantage of the remarkable shadow effects that can occur during a solar eclipse. "Our formal ambition in all our films," commented the directors, "is to create an audio-visual experience that is as close as possible to dream dreams or lucid dreams - thus exploring the limits of sensory power. ”

Swan Song

While the film itself is dimmed and andante, the award of the Golden Bear is a short film that Umbria striking, and also the first "home win" since Helke Sander won for West Germany in 1985 – and a sensational finale in the Berlinale career of Maike Mia Höhne, who has been head of the short film section since 2007. Unlike other divisions of the Berlinale – a floating monster of an event that many consider misleading after Dieter Kosslick was made artistic director in 2001 – the short film section has always shown intelligence and demonstrated a well-considered, disciplined and focused curation (only 26 films came through the eye of the needle this year) with a special emphasis on the innovative. . .



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Neil Young
Young is a regular film critic for Modern Times Review.

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