69th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen – Profile programmes
By Marcos Ortega
April 14, 2023
The 69th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen is presenting five shows of works by filmmakers and artists from different generations and countries who work with the short form in very different ways. They come from the arts, experimental or documentary film, their themes are personal, political or historical, they use performances, collages, text or feature film elements, demonstrating the enormous range and versatility of the short form.
Marcel Broodthaers, Belgium (1924-1976)
A programme of rarely shown cinematic works by the Belgian artist
A poet who decided to become a visual artist at the age of 40, Marcel Broodthaers created a fascinating body of work in a relatively short time, consisting of texts, drawings, paintings, publications, photographs, sculptures, installations – and films. With limited economic and technical means, Broodthaers produced idiosyncratic works that explored the boundaries and rules of film. Oberhausen will be showing a selection that concentrates on Broodthaers’ work as a filmmaker rather than on the exhibition or performance documentaries that were also made. The works are presented in loose chronological order, from Défense de fumer (1967-70) to La Bataille de Waterloo (1975), compiled by curator, scholar and author Xavier García Bardón.
The highlight of the programme is an Expanded Cinema work conceived especially for the festival, presenting projects in which Broodthaers made the screen an integral part of the work. On 28 April, in a special screening outside the cinema hall, a number of his films will be projected onto three special screens. The festival would like to thank Maria Gilissen Broodthaers for her collaboration.
Teboho Edkins (Germany/South Africa)
An agent between cultures
Born in the USA, raised in South Africa and Lesotho and now living in Germany, Teboho Edkins sees himself as a mediator and translator between cultures. His documentary works provide insights into the world of South Africa and Lesotho in particular, be it the gangs of Cape Town in his “gangster trilogy” Gangster Project (2011), Gangster Backstage (2013), and Gangster Film (2020) or the culture of cattle herders in Lesotho as in Shepherds (2020). Both Gangster Backstage and Shepherds won awards at Oberhausen. Edkins’ films are documentary in nature, and he shows them in art contexts as installations as well as at numerous film festivals. In 2020, his feature-length film Days of Cannibalism screened at the Berlinale, and his new short film Ghosts was selected for this year’s International Competition in Oberhausen.
The programme is curated by art historian and curator Susanne Touw.
Alexandra Gulea (Romania)
The first complete show of her short films
Alexandra Gulea was born in Bucharest and studied art in Bucharest and Paris as well as film in Munich. With her expressive, mostly documentary films she has won numerous prizes, including at Oberhausen. Now the festival is showing the first complete show of her short films. She often sheds light on institutional and social constraints, for example in Dumnezeu la Saxofon, Dracu’ la Vioara (The Thumb Twiddlers, 2003), where she portrays the residents of a psychiatric home in Romania, or in Valea Jiului – Notes (2018), which is about the quasi-orphaned children of parents working abroad. Most recently, she won the Prize of the German Competition at Oberhausen with Ńeale azbuirătoare (Flying Sheep, 2022). In the film, she tells the story of her grandparents, who were members of the persecuted Aromanian minority.
Curated by the author, film curator and teacher Madeleine Bernstorff.
Lynne Sachs (USA)
Body of the Body, Body of the Mind
The New York experimental and documentary filmmaker Lynne Sachs is one of the pioneers of feminist experimental film. In around 45 feature and short films to date, she explores the connection between the body, the camera and the materiality of film, mixing personal observation and historical experience, essay, performance, poetry and collage. She won the Grand Prize of the City of Oberhausen in 2020 with A Month of Single Frames; now the festival is presenting a showcase of her work whose central topos is the body. Three programmes, inspired by Sachs’ 2019 poetry collection Year by Year Poems, explore three different approaches: translation, collaboration and the inseparability of the affective and political. Twelve films from 1986’s Drawn and Quartered to Maya at 24 (2021) form a cross-section of Sachs’s work, compiled by publicist, programmer and curator Cíntia Gil.
Lynne Sachs’ new work Swerve has been selected for this year’s International Competition in Oberhausen.
Yamashiro Chikako (Japan)
An international discovery
Born in Okinawa, video artist Yamashiro Chikako is well-known in her home country, but has yet to be discovered in Europe. In Oberhausen, she won the ZONTA Prize for Tsuchi no hito – 2017 gekijyoban (Clay Man – 2017 Film Ver.) in 2018; now the festival is presenting a first show of her work in Europe. Since the 2000s, Yamashiro has been artistically exploring the history, social issues and geopolitical conditions of her homeland. Her focus is above all on the consequences of the American occupation, its cultural influences, the blending of traditional culture and American elements: Ryukyu singing meets Verdi opera, Japanese cowgirls meets spoken word poetry. Curated by Okamura Keiko, curator of contemporary art, Oberhausen shows an overview of Yamashiro’s short film work.
Full festival programme: