The programme ABOUT US also demands the impossible and searches for the possible in even the most neglected corners of society. For the four-part programme, curator Duscha Kistler has chosen to focus her attention on human beings. The featured films question how we treat one another, while also probing our relationship to nature and the environment.
The selected works make use of the imaginative means of animation, at times delivering contemporary social critiques, at times directing that criticism at humans themselves, though they also exhibit great affection for our species. “With this special programme I want to show that animated film is not only nice and fun, it can also engage critically with us humans and our surroundings,” explains Duscha Kistler, who served for ten years as the director of the Fantoche International Animated Film Festival in Baden, Switzerland.
“The first part of the programme explores the recklessness of humans, who, driven by the notion of progress and the hunger for power, interfere with the balance of nature and cause societal devastation,” as Kistler puts it. The focus here is placed on human beings, on their treatment of the Earth and the social changes brought forth by this relationship.
The second part deals in a thoroughly playful manner with philosophical musings on life and death. “The films here also pose interesting questions about our perception and existence,” according to Kistler. Abstract and experimental films such as Paul Bush’s Furniture Poetry challenge for instance what we see, hear and feel, turning the world on its head in the process.
The third and fourth parts of the programme shed light on the fragile forms of coexistence found in communities and duo-partnerships of the most diverse kinds – whether friendships or romantic partnerships. The focus here is on power structures, on love, on the daily grind that can set in for couples; the films treat the process of becoming accustomed to the presence of another and the all-engulfing and numbing pain of losing a partner.
It’s all about love – what better way to conclude this thematic programme than with British video artist Chris Cunningham’s music video for Björk’s All Is Full of Love, in which two robots engage in a passionate embrace.
“The Special Programme for Animated Film is intimately intertwined with us humans,” notes Duscha Kistler. In keeping with this year’s festival motto, the curator investigates how we approach the impossible, but also how we cope with our lives in general, in the process showing that the seemingly impossible can indeed become reality.