Arsenal Cinema, Berlin
SPLICE IN is a term used in film editing. It means inserting a part into an existing sequence without deleting anything. The result is a change in dramaturgy. As a film programme, SPLICE IN intervenes in ongoing discourses by inserting other perspectives.
In the short history of Afghan cinema, women have been behind the camera for the first time only since 2001. Their cinematographic work is political in that it reflects and criticizes the present situation and is committed to the future status of women in Afghan society. The subjects of their films include the assumption of political offices, the abolition of forced marriages, criticism of traditional family structures, or efforts against corruption.
The SPLICE IN festival juxtaposes the theme of "women and Afghanistan", which has been repeatedly instrumentalized, with local initiatives of female filmmakers, actresses and women's organizations, whose political work partially goes back to pre-Taliban times and has since then also been pursued in exile. These perspectives are brought together with films from the neighbouring states of Iran and India that address comparable political concerns. The Indian film Nari Adalat ("Women's Courts") by the filmmaker and feminist Deepa Dhanraj, for example documents an alternative legal form that emerged from an independent initiative and intervenes in existing hierarchical judicial structures.
In addition to current documentary film productions, full-length feature films, a short educational film and Khaleq Alil's historical film Talabgar ("The Marriage Candidate") from the archives of Afghan Film will be shown for the first time in Germany. Talabgar and Postcards from Tora Bora, a documentary film from 2006 directed by Wazmah Osman and Kelly Dolak, both go back to the upper middle class Kabul of the 60s and 70s. In Postcards from Tora Bora animated scenes reveal the memories and dreams of the Afghan director, who for the first time returns to Kabul after her escape from Afghanistan in the 70s.
The current production conditions in the field of film and television - particularly for women - will be discussed in a panel with film makers and film producers from Afghanistan. Women are subject to the social pressure of traditional family structures and fundamentalist hostilities to a greater extent than their male colleagues. In the present phase of reconstruction, Western relief organizations have become a decisive factor in Afghan film production. This raises the question of whether and how these organizations influence the contents of film scripts and which values they seek to assert.
The documentary film "Such a strange time it is, my dear ..." by Mira Habibi spans the arc via Iran back to Germany. The protagonists are women, who had been active in feminist or left groups after the Iranian revolution in 1979, and fled to Berlin after the brutal islamic purge at the beginning of the 80s. The interviewees talk about their political work, sexualities and migration. The film will be screened in a double feature with Le mouvement de libération des femmes iraniennes - année zéro by the French group Politique et Psychoanalyse from 1979. The film documents the first protests against the new regime in Iran: thousands of women were demonstrating against the hijab-wearing decree forced upon them by the religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini. This rare document gives word to younger and older women likewise, among them laicists and religious women as well as the American feminist Kate Millett.
The festival opens with the film Kabul Transit produced in 2006, which documents the contrasting everyday lives of international and local actors in Kabul, a metropolis of millions. The filmmaker and sociologist Maliha Zulfacar, currently the Afghan ambassador to Berlin, will attend the screening and present her film.
The SPLICE IN film programme has been presented in Kassel within the framework of the Kassel Documentary and Videofest and, following the Berlin screenings, will then travel to Hamburg (Kino Metropolis: 11/28-12/06/2007). The final screening will be in Kabul in the end of April 2008.
Entrance to the Women's Park in Kabul
Photo: Elfe Brandenburger
Se noughta 'Three Dots' by the Afghan director Roya Sadat (2004/AF).