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. ”
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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