International Forum of New Cinema: Experiments

in 54th Berlinale - Berlin International Film Festival

by Nabeeha Lotfy

Experiments are exciting, especially for the people who experiment, but sometimes for those who watch the results as well. Watching the films of the International Forum, I was carried away by many attempts that reached a new form or new ideas. It is said there are no new ideas under the sun, but it’s not totally true. There will always be new ways to make ideas turn up differently or reflect ideas from a different angle. I saw these experiments in many films, most of them didn’t reach their goal, but some were successful.

Right from the start I knew about the differences in the films’ standards. But then I noticed, in the films I liked and those I didn’t, there’s a certain target, a serious attempt for a new way of narration, an attempt for details to enrich the ideas. The experiment could take many forms and use many angles, it also could pursue a line and concentrate on it. The line may fade, the angles may mix and the form may be distorted, so that the experiment is not complete and results in the harsh judgment: This work is a failure. But there the mission could be incomplete and maybe the first experiment will lead to another one, but a good experiment should never be rejected.

Capitalist Manifesto for example is a film of a notably unique style that deals with social outsiders spending their time gambling or dealing with pornographic material and school girls who sell their bodies as whores. This experiment is full of repetitions that start as a style and later borders on real boredom. But this will not eliminate or throw away the entire concept of the film.

Chain is a film where a super landscape of hotels, malls and theme parks shapes the lives of two women. These women change the approach: Instead of reports, discussions and facts their presence tells everything. The form changes from a dry traditional documentary to a rather lyrical narration that reveals the facts with all their documentary reality. Was it a bit long? Yes, indeed, but it was a beautiful revelation.

I mention only these two examples, but the Forum was full of them: The Time We Killed, the film that won our prize, was a true enchantment, a poem of visual and mental strength carrying out the aims of its own experiment.