Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen

Press
Review

Oberhausen is a dense festival, occasionally all over the place. One could describe it as a visual collection of poems, enigmatic and enlightening, demanding and exhilarating at the same time. Hans Schifferle, epd film, June 2012

 

"Oberhausen demonstrates very successfully that it is quite possible to keep up one's dedication to the 'new languages of film' stipulated 50 years ago without losing one's audience." Matthias Müller in an interview in Film und Medien NRW, No. 1/2012

 

Short films are capable of finding a general and human dimension even in the most dramatic political conflicts, a quality that has been part of Oberhausen since the festival's inception. Fifty years after the famous Manifesto was signed, this was brought home with particular clarity. Daniel Kothenschulte, Frankfurter Rundschau, 2 May 2012

 

Oberhausen specialises in concentrated, galvanising shots of pure adrenaline, and in this edition they came at us fast and furious. Kieron Corless, Sight & Sound, July 2012

 

Short films with a message – Oberhausen 2012 presented a paradigmatic look at the scope and possibilities of this genre. And the rediscovery of the 'signatories' [of the Oberhausen Manifesto] is bound to continue to occupy us this year. Bert Rebhandl, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 3 May 2012

 

The revival of the short films of the 'Oberhausener' brought some surprising insights. Some of the insurgents were more firmly rooted in the tradition of educational films than expected […] Only a minority realised avant-garde concepts like Jürgen Pohland in his black and white study 'Schatten' (1960). Reinhard Kleber, filmecho/filmwoche No. 18/2012

 

The complexity of filming reality – and specifically a reality totally informed by a near-immediate historical past – was undeniably at the heart of the Mavericks, Mouvements, Manifestos retrospective, whose programming weaved between simple, core examples […] and far more complicated works which ducked and weaved between registers, forms, histories and realities. Daniel Kasman, mubi.com Notebook, 9 May 2012

 

What the majority of the films have in common is a way of looking at reality […], a reality they all care about but that is never a given for the cinema, whose task it is to corner it. […] The Oberhausen retrospective demonstrated masterfully that the history of short film is never to be neglected. Florence Maillard, Cahiers du Cinéma, July/August 2012

 

This incredibly original film [Das magische Band, Ferdinand Khittl] is something like the essence of all short films by the signatories of the Manifesto, because nobody else ever managed to cram so many different elements and genres into 21 minutes. Andrea Dittgen, Die Rheinpfalz, 18 May 2012

 

After half a century, the spirit of the Oberhausen Manifesto hasn't worn off: the drive to make cinema art integral to the construct and/or opposition of social ideologies, and the struggle of independent, underground film-makers against the monopoly of taste and global commercialisation – these are as arduous now, if not more, than they were in the 1960s. Kong Rithdee, The Bangkok Post, Thailand, 21 May 2012

 

But Oberhausen would not be the contentious festival that was admired then and still is now if it never challenged its own idols. A whole series of short films by the signatories had been unearthed, restored and screened. This extraordinarily exciting selection made one thing clear above all: the Oberhauseners' main concerns were the analysis of their age and the absolute freedom of the cinematic form. Oliver Baumgarten, Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 3 May 2012

 

It [Mavericks, Mouvements, Manifestos] is not a look back, as most retrospectives inevitably are, but a bracing engagement with a reality, both historic and contemporary, that proves to be still absolutely crucial to our understanding of the world of cinema. Daniel Kasman, mubi.com Notebook, 9 May 2012

 

The revolutionary spirit of the Manifesto was omnipresent in this 58th edition of the Oberhausen festival. Oliver Baumgarten, Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 3 May 2012

 

Between 1950 and 1970 there was a flood of cinematic counter-movements and collectives between Japan, Europe and the US, which the curators Ralph Eue and Olaf Möller collected in ten programmes. The common denominator of the films was the absolute will to do something new. The interesting thing is how the old was not so easy to get rid of after all. Dietmar Kammerer, taz, 2 May 2012

 

The German core of the retrospective was flanked by neo-avant-gardes from France, the US, Japan, Hungary and Sweden; daredevil curating crowned by magnificent individual achievements. Barbara Wurm, ray-magazin.at, May 2012

 

But one thing manifestos do teach us is that the real avant-garde seems to need its broadsides and statements of focus simply in order to keep its practice in the public eye. In that sense, rather than believing what's written, it's better to view manifestos as bulletins from the collective unconscious, symptoms of the general sickness or health of film culture. Nick James, 'Revolt into Style', Sight & Sound, May 2012

 

While hardly a trace of revolt could be found there [in the five competitions], the selection still featured the traditional high-quality mix of formal narrative experiments and video art with social and political concerns. Oliver Baumgarten, Blickpunkt:Film, No. 19/2012

 

Experiments once more rule the German Competition 2012, and on a brilliant level of quality. Andreas Wilink, K.West, April 2012

 

Oberhausen is an invitation to push the old and new boundaries, the stereotypes of the film industry and the index craze of the digital age. Were the German films of the 1950s really as bad as the signatories of the Manifesto claimed? And are experimental films like 'Meteor' [Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet] really lost to the cinema because they are screened mainly at museums and galleries? Oberhausen sees the theatrical screening as a duty, an opportunity, and a pleasure. Hans Schifferle, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3 May 2012

 

Eli Cortiñas delivered one of the most beautiful films with Confessions with an Open Curtain. A meditation about feminine identity and representation patterns which combines views of women's backs from American feature films and pictures of curtains. The age of collective statements may be over; the discussion of film continues. Hans-Christoph Zimmermann, der Freitag, 3 May 2012

 

How children's dreams of a journey to the moon can be packed into an emotionally gripping work full of sci-fi film quotes, with a Puccini aria linking and distorting both, was demonstrated by the short film pair Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet (German competition) in their film 'Meteor'. Andrea Dittgen, film-dienst, No. 11/2012

 

Compared with Roee Rosen, our satirical TV shows are the pits of humour, and someone like the legendary New York bad boy Lenny Bruce seems hardly less subdued than the intellectual schlehmihl Woody Allen. Andreas Wilink, K.West, April 2012

 

Israeli artist Roee Rosen's tryptich Out (TSE, 2010) is like a shower of sparks. It opens in recognisable talking-heads doc-land, then slams you into a profoundly politicised, hardcore sadomasochistic political exorcism involving the same two women, before rounding off with a beautiful live rendition of a haunting lament. Kieron Corless, Sight & Sound, July 2012