(This event has passed)

Mar 1–11, 2014
Organized by: Goethe-Institut Cairo
Event Language: All films have english subtitles
Website: http://www.goethe.de/ins/eg/kai/deindex.htm?wt_sc=kairo

Young people in the provinces who have only one thing on their minds – emigration. Young people in a stifling and repressive state who are suddenly presented with the opportunity – and the risks – of escape. Young people who create their own world, their own subculture. A young man who desperately needs to grow up. A child who practices believing in herself. Older people who remember the past. Young people who are keen to help build a new society.


It is people like them that you will meet in the films of the Goethe Film Week. For them, an old era is coming to a close, and something new is beginning – mostly because the protagonists have a vague but intense feeling that everything has to begin anew. The stories told by these films are frequently stories about “generations”. They may be set in the nineteenth century, and yet they are stories that also move us here and now.


At the same time, contemporary filmmakers (and other artists) increasingly embrace what one might call the “documentary impulse”. Where does this impulse come from? One answer may be found in looking at the work of photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher. Admired all over the world, what it shows, however, are images of unattractive industrial buildings, in catalogue-like array. There was a moment in their lives when the Bechers suddenly realized that all these buildings would soon be gone – replaced by shopping malls and high-rises in the post-industrial era. This was the moment when they decided to save the images – as a record of the past, a keepsake, a peculiar beauty – and to take pictures of “everything” for that reason alone. The young people working in a documentary fashion today may know little about the Bechers when they follow the traces of the past or when they “see” with their camera what happens out there, right on their doorsteps; but they and the Bechers are kindred spirits.


The aesthetic range of what we today call a “documentary film” is enormous, and the documentary devices employed by today’s filmmakers have never been as sophisticated. Some documentaries look like feature films, while one of our feature films comes in the guise of an old-fashioned “documentary”. The “documentary impulse” has put its stamp on many of today’s films. It seems that we are entering a time when one looks back, over one’s own shoulder, as it were, long and searching.


What matters for them is not (just) narrative, stories and chronology. What matters is, of course, film as image. Werner Herzog, perhaps Germany’s best-known film director, has always built his documentaries around memorable images rather than “stories”, which is why our program also includes two of his less well-known documentaries.


In making the selection, we have tried to find interesting films that were shown at festivals during the last year and that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to see in Cairo. The program also includes films from filmmakers who are based in, or have visited, the Arab world or who we have worked with.


We are very pleased that the films will also be shown at the Institut Français en Egypte and in turn look forward to the films that our French friends will present soon.