Key Aspect Europe

Randa Maroufi: Stand-by Office (F, LEB, NL, RO), 2017

The great European dreams that briefly took shape after the end of the Cold War are currently being gusted by the cold wind of crises. And Europe is wrestling with its identity. The various forces of attraction and repulsion, as well as the inner plurality of the European construct, are also reflected in short film. In several programmes that incorporate both historical and current perspectives, we are looking back on 30 years of Europe. 

"The time of art is a different one to the time of politics. They touch upon each other only on occasion, and if you’re lucky then sparks result," as the dramatist Heiner Müller said in 1990. These sparks become clearly visible in the films in the "A Path for Freedom" programme, as indeed does the euphoria become palpable that prevailed in Germany immediately after the fall of the Wall. In THE CONFESSION, for instance, Jochen Kuhn imagines a time in which the great ideologies are conquered by humanity.

The "Border Regions" programme presents a Europe lacking in utopias, posing the question of where Europe begins and where it ends – and that in many ways. The disintegration of Yugoslavia, which is the subject of Jasmila Žbanić's BIRTHDAY, demonstrates clearly that a response to this question is only barely possible. Bernd Lützeler's CAMERA THREAT does indeed move beyond our continent geographically, but for that it impressively documents the formal-aesthetic developments in the film medium over the last 30 years and betakes itself to border regions in which fact and fiction merge. At the same time, this is also understood to represent the transition to the "Europe Is Falling Apart" programme. The EU has come under sustained attack from the populist discourse over the last few years. As a union of states, Europe originally wanted to make a contribution to overcoming nationalism. Subsequently a compromise was sought between permeable (trading) borders and the need to accommodate popularist anti-immigration feelings –with a grasping at straws by those who lament the apparently decreasing supremacy of the nation states as the basis. And with any sense of balance long lost today. Efforts are now being made with all available resources to protect the multi-layered continental "fortress" of Europe from outside intruders. And the consequences of this can be seen on a macro level in Laura Waddington's BORDER, for instance, while this is demonstrated on a micro level by Adriano Valerio through a love story in MON AMOUR, MON AMI.

Despite all of these law and order measures, the left-wing and right-wing populist camps in Europe continue to grow in numbers. The films here focusing on Europe unmask their discourse as being "post-truth", while they provide thought-provoking impulses and pose questions: How can the political regression within the EU be brought to an end? And does the Europe project still have a chance?

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