A dash of synthetic reality lasting just a minute, sometimes even just a second. More pure, intensive and unforgettable than anything that was actually experienced. Film clips as a drug, sold in dingy corners and then directly shot into one’s brain, instantly making consumers dependent. Strange Days, the science fiction film by Kathryn Bigelow, is the glittering name-giver of the joint film programme of VIS with the international short film festivals of Winterthur and Hamburg. The concept: one title, one topic for which each festival curates one programme that will be screened with the others at all three festivals.
Collaboratively, because all three festivals value the bold, experimental and often borderline form of the short film. Because we all know the retinal flickering and radiating brains, the Strange Days after viewing thousands of films, and because we recognise similarities in moods, formal trends and aesthetic styles in the yearly admissions.
So Strange Days is a label for a collaborative debut, which addresses, in terms of content and formal aesthetics, disturbing shifts of reality and injections of images in three programmes. We come face to face with pubertal states of emergency, dreamlike weightlessness and the logic of an upside down world. Strange Days is also the topic that is ever present in this year’s VIS festival programme. We undertake a journey through the surreal cinema, look at the trend that is the animated horror movie, while also addressing the tiny everyday tremors, as well as great social, cultural or geopolitical subversions.
And for us, quite unlike what is conveyed in Bigelow’s “Strange Days“, short films aren’t easily administered, quickly consumed industrial entertainment products, but condensed cinema and unremitting challenges, that also happen to be a real pleasure most of the time.
Text: Birgit Glombitza (IKFF Hamburg), supplemented by Daniel Ebner (VIS)
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