“We can’t keep the shutdown going for months”

The Munich philosopher Julian Nida-Rümelin warns to loosen the everyday restrictions imposed in the fight against the corona virus “as quickly as possible”. “We now need to discuss how we can get out of this shutdown,” said Nida-Rümelin in an interview with the Handelsblatt. “We absolutely have to come back to the voluntariness that is so fundamental to our democracy.”

The former Minister of Culture emphasized that one should not talk down what is happening. “We’re overriding a lot of fundamental rights,” he said. Such restrictions on freedom should only exist as long as they are clearly limited in time.

“If we continued the shutdown for twelve, 16 or 18 months, we would damage the vitality of the economy, social and cultural life so severely that I would be very worried.” At worst, there is a risk of social collapse.

Nida-Rümelin recommends a gradual return to normality in society, which is accompanied by a “cocooning” of risk groups such as the elderly and the previously ill. “The selectivity of the virus gives us the opportunity to significantly reduce the number of victims if we protect the particularly vulnerable.” He suggests, for example, that protective locks be installed at old people’s homes.

East Asian democracies such as South Korea and Taiwan could be used as models in the fight against the pandemic, which were characterized by a “protective mask culture” and used cellphone tracking technologies. “We make our data completely nonchalant Facebook and Google available, so I think it’s not a problem if we can now temporarily provide the state with data on fighting the crisis, ”said Nida-Rümelin. However, the data would have to be anonymized. In addition, the use of the app should be voluntary.

Read the full interview here:

Professor Nida-Rümelin, how long can our free, pluralistic society endure the state of emergency of corona rigidity?
We cannot talk down what is happening. We override most of the fundamental rights: freedom to practice, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of demonstration and so on. This is a very massive intervention. Some even say that this is unconstitutional. I don’t want to join that. But there is an unease that I share. In my opinion, such restrictions on freedom may only exist if they are clearly limited in time.

Should we ease state access even though the virus is spreading?
The health system had to save time due to everyday restrictions. And that has been flanked wisely, much faster than in the global financial crisis, through economic and social measures to mitigate the side effects. But: It can’t go on like this for 18 months. We now need to discuss how we can get out of this shutdown as quickly as possible.

They advocate the “cocooning” of risk groups, that is, the encapsulation of the old and the previously ill.
In such a crisis, you have to have prospects that provide comfort. And consolation provides the extreme selectivity that distinguishes this virus. The data that I have just looked at very carefully for Italy show that the risk is very unevenly distributed across the population. That is a glimmer of hope.

People who belong to the risk groups will not feel that way.
The selectivity of the virus gives us the opportunity to significantly reduce the number of victims if we protect the particularly vulnerable. It is about cutting off infection routes, for example by installing protective gates on old people’s homes.

And for the rest of the world should everyday life begin again?
The rest of the population must quickly find their way back into their activities so that the social and economic system remains strong enough to cope with the crisis. If we continued the shutdown for twelve, 16 or 18 months, we would have damaged the vitality of the economy, social and cultural life so severely that I would be very worried.

In an internal paper, the Federal Interior Ministry warns at worst of a meltdown, of anarchy.
I share this fear. That is why I said early on that we have to think about the exit scenario. There are very different strategies for dealing with the virus worldwide. There is the containment strategy in East Asia, which, if we trust the numbers, has had resounding success in China, but with draconian measures. We have the South Korean strategy of tracking mobile phones, using a protective mask culture, but without general exit restrictions. We can learn from South Korea and also from Taiwan.

Aren’t you afraid that if the virus is loosened too early, the virus could get out of control again – and we in Germany will still experience what Northern Italy and New York are going through?
I don’t want to set a time, but I say: we can’t keep the shutdown down for months, that’s completely out of the question. We absolutely need to come back to the voluntariness that is so fundamental to our democracy. Everyone in Germany can get drunk to the point of senselessness, and can shorten their lifespan. It is part of the principle of a free society that people take responsibility for themselves, even if they do not benefit public health.

The cell phone tracking, which they highlight, critics consider entry into the surveillance state.
Mobile phone tracking is available in different forms. What scares people is the way the state keeps track of who was where and when. That would be highly problematic even in the crisis. However, there are reliable anonymization processes. This means that the state knows where an infected person is somewhere and can warn those who may have been infected. But the state doesn’t know who it is. We provide our data completely nonchalantly to Facebook and Google, so I think it is unproblematic if we now temporarily provide the state with data to combat the crisis – anonymized, which of course is not the case with Facebook.

Should such an app be mandatory to work?
We should first try it voluntarily, we are currently seeing that the population is very cooperative.

You already spoke to Italy, the country is particularly important to you. Does it hurt to see how badly the country is suffering?
Yes, I am closely connected biographically to Italy, I lived and worked there. The interesting thing is: Italy has always been a forerunner in history. Fascism was a sad example; he was only in Italy, then he came to Germany. But it was the same with futurism and the Renaissance. Most recently we experienced the populist erosion of liberal democracy – again first in Italy. And now Italy is also a pioneer in the fight against Covid-19.

Italy initially slipped, even more so than other European countries, and then reacted with draconian measures that the population accepted almost without complaint. At the same time, Italy has high levels of debt and a fragile banking system. That means: The country is demonstrating how unstable the situation is. It is not clear how the state can save the economic livelihoods that are about to collapse.

That is why the Italian government is vehemently calling for corona bonds – common European bonds to finance economic reconstruction.I think that is a sensible idea, at least when there are also control measures in place. Joint bonds could at least partially compensate for the weaving error of the monetary union, namely that economic developments have not converged, but have diverged since we got the euro. There is also a political argument. If the Italian prime minister, together with the Spanish head of government and the French president, calls for corona bonds and Germany then collapses this together with the Netherlands, the result is a further division of the EU. We cannot afford that, especially in this crisis.

What geopolitical consequences will the corona pandemic have?
One scenario would be that the Western countries coped poorly with this crisis – economically, socially, culturally, health-wise – and the East Asian states coped with this crisis well. I therefore very deliberately refer to South Korea and Taiwan, which are functioning democracies. If so, the contrast would be cultural rather than ideological. One would say that the East Asian way of doing politics, demanding solidarity, mobilizing volunteers works better in such a crisis than the Western individualistic approach. That would be less dramatic than if the consequence of the crisis were: Democracies per se are unable to cope with such a challenge.

Does the pandemic teach us new humility before the forces of nature?
There are limits to formability. That doesn’t mean we’re helpless. But there are many things that we cannot influence or control. Preparing people so that they do not remain stuck in fear and end up adopting a crisis management strategy that does even more damage than the crisis itself – that is a great challenge. And there may still be a lot ahead of us.

Thank you very much for the interview.

More: Germany’s top consumer protector Klaus Müller warns of the long-term consequences of the corona crisis for citizens. Solidarity should not be a constraint either.


Arnau Puig, philosopher and art critic, dies at 94, the last voice of the Dau al Set

The philosopher, sociologist and art critic Arnau Puig he died in Barcelona yesterday at the age of 94, according to Comanegra. With his death, the last voice of Dau al Set, the Catalan avant-garde artistic group created around the eponymous magazine in Barcelona in October 1948, was inspired by the work of artists Max Ernst, Paul Klee and Joan Miró. .

Professor at the University of Barcelona, ​​the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Professor of Aesthetics at the School of Architecture, Puig was recognized in 2012 with the National Prize for Culture in the Trajectory and also received the Creu de Sant Jordi in 1992, the prize of the Catalan Association of Art Critics in 2003 and the Medal of the Barcelona City Council for cultural merit in 2004.

Vilallonga: “It made us better”

We will miss his lucid, critical voice. It has made us better, as a country, as a culture. A few months ago we accompanied him at his wife’s farewell. Today we will not be able to accompany him, “said yesterday the Minister of Culture, Mariàngela Vilallonga, via a tweet on Twitter, where he added:” We will miss his lucid, critical voice. “

We say goodbye to a European philosopher – a life full of concerns, intensely dedicated to art and thought with his wife, the choreographer Consol Villaubí, who also left us last year, “added the publisher Comanegra, who published Arnau Puig’s last five books. “We are dismayed when we are part of his family and cannot be fired because he is deserved,” due to the current confinement circumstances, the publisher lamented.

In this sense, dozens of personalities from the artistic and cultural world expressed their condolences. “We have lost Arnau Puig, a man who has illuminated our artistic world from its involvement in the fundamental experience of Dau al Set. Inspiring, restless, cordial wise, he has taught us to look inside and open new avenues for art and thought, “said Carles Duarte, poet and director of the CIC Cultural Institution.

The personal archive controversy

In recent years, Puig had been a regular contributor to the magazine Bonart and precisely the publication honored the artistic group Dau al Set in May 2019, highlighting its “ all-avant-garde effervescence since the 1940’s. ” “Given the Set was a struggle. It was to play the dice of the culture we have. We play to find what there is no way to find, the seventh face of the dice. This is our fight, “said the art critic then.

A short time later, Puig donated his legacy to the magazine and was “pleased” with the donation, since it supposed “to leave in good hands a treasure that I have held with me all my life.” Later, in June 2019, the philosopher and art critic launched a controversy with the Department of Culture, as well as with the MNAC, MACBA and the National Archive, which he accused of not being “interested in” by your personal file. Cultura closed the dispute by claiming that it maintained contact with Puig to catalog the “highlights” of its archive and documentary collection so that they could become part of the Generalitat’s national fund.

Founder of Algol and Dau al Set

Founder of the magazines Algol (1946) and Dice on Set (1948-1956), Puig transferred to the culture of Catalonia the existentialist thought lived in Paris first-hand at the University of the Sorbonne, between 1956 and 1961. He published, among others, Aesthetic writings. Philosophies (1997), Stories of Dau al Set (1998), It gives to the Set, a philosophy of the existence (2003) and in 2011 published A philosophy of roaming, on the existential philosophical imprint that marked his life. He also contributed to 20th Century, Dome, Presence, The Vanguard, New Form i The country, and exerted criticism a Europe Magazine, Gazeta del Arte, Batik, Today i Plastic Arts. From 1964 to 1975 he was the president of the Cercle Maillol of the French Institute of Barcelona.

He was also director of the Institute of History and Archeology of the Higher Council of Scientific Research in Rome and honorary member of the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi.


Dana al Set survivor Arnau Puig dies at 94




The philosopher, sociologist and art critic Arnau Puig He died this Sunday in Barcelona at the age of 94 due to a long illness, as reported by the editorial Comanegra, who has published five of his books.

Arnau Puig’s articles on ABC constituted beautiful miniatures of Art in journalistic format. Have one of the founders of Dau al Set, the group that set up the avant-garde rebellion in the post-war period of silence, was a luxury.

Puig’s aesthetic conscience woke up the day the luxurious magazine fell into his hands «D’Ací d’Allà ». Those pages of good weight with paintings by Joan Miró, combined, according to his words, “a cultured language and a deep need to connect” with the unspecialized public. In 1947, Puig initialed his first articles in the Algol magazine, founded by Joan Ponç and Joan Brossa; a year later he promoted Dau al Set with Joan Ponç, Antoni Tàpies, Modest Cuixart and J. J. Tharrats. In 1949 Juan Eduardo Cirlot joined the group.

In “Dau al Set, a philosophy of existence” (Flor del Viento, 2003), Puig contemplated that constellation of spirits as diverse as an impossible move: «We knew where we were fleeing, but not where we were going. Each one has followed his path, but over time it has been seen that the only authentic Daualsetista was Joan Ponç, while Tàpies does not, because he is not a subjectivist in the strict sense ».

This heterogeneity of sensibilities enlarges the dimension of Dau al Set as the most relevant movement in the aesthetic modernity in the Spain of the 50s.

Memory of the past

The death of his groupmates left him as the last survivor, the living memory of Dau al Set. In 2012, the Cultural Institute of the Barcelona city council dedicated an exhibition to him that was explained as a “memory of the past, current awareness of memory”. The biographical and chronological journey was completed with an aesthetic, philosophical and sociological reflection.

Biography that goes back to the years when Puig worked as a scribe in Danone, covers old bookstores and alternates surreal passion with Einstein’s theories and Lorca’s poems. In 1948, his decisive year, Puig traveled to Madrid to follow a course with Ortega y Gasset. His admiration for the philosopher leads him to meet Julián Marías, the sculptor Ángel Ferrant and the glossator Eugenio d’Ors.

Puig compensates for the happy self-taught disorder with Philosophy studies at the University of Barcelona; Thanks to a scholarship from the French Institute, in 1954 he studied Sociology of Art and Culture at the Sorbonne in Paris. In the French capital, where he will reside until 1962, he lives the years of existentialism and a culture of European scope matures: in 2017, the French government appointed him Knight of the Legion of Honor.

Professor at the School of Arts and Artistic Trades at the UB and UAB, in 1968 he directed the Chair of Aesthetics at the Barcelona Technical School of Architecture (ETSAB). Director of the Institute of History and Archeology of the CSIC in Rome, Puig turned to the journalistic collaborations -ABC, “La Vanguardia”, “El País”, “Avui” – and essayism: “The pros and cons of abstract painting” (1963), “Sociology of forms” (1979), “Pindar in the stadium »(1996),« On a philosophy of itinerancy »(2011),« The philosophy of immediacy »(2015)…

Joan Sala, editor of his last five books in the Comanegra stamp, recalls the long afternoons in which Puig spoke of politics, history, travel and, above all, philosophy: “Although he was in very poor health, he lived socially until the last day and has kept his mind clear until the last moment.”


At the age of 94, the philosopher and art critic Arnau Puig, the last voice of the Dau al Set, died

The philosopher, sociologist and art critic Arnau Puig passed away in Barcelona on Sunday at the age of 94, according to the Comanegra publishing house. With its disappearance the last voice of the group Dau al Set, the Catalan avant-garde artistic group created around the eponymous magazine in Barcelona in October 1948, and inspired by the work of Max Ernst, Paul Klee and Joan Miró, dies. . Professor at the UB, UAB and Professor of Aesthetics at the School of Architecture, Puig was recognized in 2012 with the National Culture Award for his career and also received the Sant Jordi Cross in 1992 , the prize of the Catalan Association of Art Critics in 2003 and the Medal of the Barcelona City Council for cultural merit in 2004.

Vilallonga: “It made us better, as a country, as a culture”

“We will miss his lucid, critical voice. He has made us better, as a country, as a culture. A few months ago, we accompanied him to his wife’s farewell. Today we cannot accompany him,” he said. Minister of Culture, Mariàngela Vilallonga through a tweet. “We say goodbye to a philosopher of European size: a life full of worries dedicated to art and thought with his wife, the choreographer Consol Villaubí, who also left us last year,” Comanegra publishing house, which has published the last five books of Arnau Puig. “When we are part of his family, we are dismayed that we cannot fire him as he deserves,” he said.

Founder of Algol and Dau al Set

Founder of the magazines Algol (1946) and Dau al Set (1948-1956), Puig transferred to the culture of Catalonia the existentialist thought lived in Paris first-hand at the University of the Sorbonne, between 1956 and 1961. He published, among others, ‘Writings of aesthetics. Philosophies’ (1997), ‘Stories of Dau al Set’ (1998), ‘Dau al Set, a philosophy of existence’ (2003) and in 2011 he published ‘A Philosophy of Roaming’. existential philosophical imprint that has marked his personal experience. He has also collaborated in the 20th Century, Dome, Presence, La Vanguardia, Nueva Forma, and El País, and has been a critic of Revista Europa, Gazeta del Arte, Batik, Avui and Artes Plásticas. From 1964 to 1975 he was president of the Cercle Maillol of the French Institute of Barcelona.

He has also been director of the Institute of History and Archeology of the Higher Council of Scientific Research in Rome, an honorary member of the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi and lately a regular contributor to Bonart magazine, at Arnau Puig expressed his satisfaction with the donation because it meant “leaving in good hands a treasure that I have kept with me all my life”. Later, the philosopher and art critic had a small controversy with the Department of Culture and public institutions such as the MNAC, the MACBA and the National Archives, which he accused of not being interested in his personal archive. Cultura closed the dispute by claiming that it maintained contact with Arnau Puig so that the “highlights” in its archive were part of the Generalitat’s collection.


“Masked and gloved men took out the coffin from the hearse” – Liberation

“Masked and gloved men took the coffin out of the hearse” Liberation.

Are democratic states at a disadvantage in the crisis?

Berlin Nobody knows how long social life has to submit to the fight against the corona virus. Weeks, months – maybe, as some epidemiologists warn, more than a year. There is nothing good to gain from the emergency. All that remains is to try to suppress worries and make the evil of standstill more bearable.

If you don’t have to look after small children, you now have at least time to read – and maybe you can devote yourself to topics that would normally be a little bulky. Political philosophy, for example.

The Munich philosopher and former Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs Julian Nida-Rümelin recently presented a comprehensive analysis of the democratic crisis – arguably the most important issue in the public debate before the pandemic put all other concerns in the background. It is worth reading this book.

The starting point of the analysis is the observation that the triumphal march of liberal democracy, which followed three “waves of democratization” (Samuel Huntington) after the Second World War, has come to a halt. Stanford professor Larry Diamond diagnosed twelve years ago that the world was in a “democratic recession”.

It has to be said: Liberal democracy is an embedded democracy in the sense that it places limits on the rule of the majority. Just as essential as free elections is the rule of law, which protects minorities and prevents arbitrariness, for liberal democracy. Liberal democracy guarantees civil rights, it stands for freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

But in more and more countries, these elements of democratic rule are being lost. Populism is on the rise and with it “illiberal democracy”. According to the US organization Freedom House, the proportion of states that are considered free has decreased by three percent in the past ten years.

Why is that? And what can be done about it? Nida-Rümelin explores these questions in his book. He also draws on this, which makes this book special, economic explanatory models.

Julian Nida-Rümelin: The endangered rationality of democracy.
Edition Körber
Zurich 2017
304 pages
22 euros

There are not many contemporary philosophers who have bothered to penetrate economic theories. Nida-Rümelin did it. In this way, he can familiarize himself with the economic functional conditions on which the success of democratic systems depends.

Liberal democracy, according to the philosopher’s thesis, has come into crisis due to the erosion of the welfare state and the loss of control by national decision-makers. This loss of control is the result of globalization – and culminated in the 2008 financial crisis.

“Since then doubts have grown whether nation states are still able to enforce the necessary regulations on the financial markets and generally the markets for goods and services,” writes Nida-Rümelin.

His demand: “A liberal world order as a strategy of state dismantling and financial globalization must be replaced by a cosmopolitan world order based on the global rule of law and the welfare state.”

Nida-Rümelin does not understand the overcoming of the nation state by a cosmopolitan world order. Rather, the cosmopolitan world order must create the space for the welfare states to develop within the national framework and to preserve their idiosyncrasies.

Cosmopolitanism, for which Nida-Rümelin advocates, is a “global legal system” that guarantees compliance with human rights based on a “normative consensus”. International courts could secure this system.

Democracy: are other forms of government superior?

This is of course a wish. As desirable as the cosmopolitan order may be, it is currently unrealistic. The author outlines an ideal, not a practical solution.

The corona virus confirms this finding because it is putting liberal democracy to the test. The crisis shows how difficult democracies are with the freedom-restricting measures necessary to fight a pandemic. The result is that trade is too slow and hesitant.

So are other forms of government superior? Liberal democracy has to face this debate. With China, it has grown into a system competitor for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Beijing, that is already foreseeable, will use the crisis to advertise its own model of rule: high-tech authoritarianism.

But dealing with the deficits of democratic societies should not hide one thing: authoritarian states fear the truth, which is also borne out by the corona crisis.

If Chinese rulers hadn’t denied the new virus for weeks, if they had taken warnings from doctors in Wuhan province seriously and hadn’t suppressed them, the world would have been spared the worst economic crisis since World War II.

More: Green warn: crisis nationalism encourages EU skepticism and populism


At the Berlinale, pearls of plenty

Now that the prize list has fallen, the time has come for a final review of this successful 70e Berlinale, to evoke a few films that have been able to float in the memory of the festival critic exhausted by an overflow of images, German coffee and stuffy pretzels.

Mental space

Siberia by Abel Ferrara

ITA, DEU, MEX 2020, Competition
2020 Vivo film. Maze pictures. Piano

Siberia of Abel Ferrara. Vivo film. Maze pictures. Piano

Let’s start with an aberration, which we cannot say whether we like it or not, one of the most awaited films of the competition which created an almost general perplexity: Siberia by Abel Ferrara. It is a series of enigmatic visions and encounters experienced by an American, Clint (Willem Dafoe), running a bar in the middle of Siberia. Memories, dreams, nightmarish or mystical apparitions are linked together in this trip where we guess the clear influence of Andrei Tarkovski. Many critics found the film grotesque, and most of the spectators in the very large room of the Friedrichstadt-Palast, where we saw it, had apparently chosen to consider that they were facing a comedy. We do not hide the fact that certain situations or ideas made us smile and that it is quite difficult to genuinely adhere to this mystical-psychoanalytic peregrination in which Ferrara immerses us in the obscure depths of his imagination. But, in addition to the fact that the film arouses in us the sympathy of unclassifiable and netless objects, it is undeniable that the one who produced it is a real filmmaker, who knows how to create singular images, invent a complex mental space or seize us by a simple connection between two planes. And in a festival where there are so many films in one day, sometimes of great platitude or shapeless blistering, this Siberia so mocked at least had the audacity to explore in its own way nothing less than the twists and turns of cinematic time and space, through those of dream and memory.

Malmkrog by Cristi Puiu

ROU, SRB, CHE, SWE, BIH, MKD 2020, Encounters

Malmkrog by Cristi Puiu. Mandragora

It is in a completely different way that we recognize a strong sense of duration and framework in the long, complex and sometimes sumptuous shots that constitute Malmkrog (presented in the Encounters section), the new film by Romanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu (discovered in 2005 with the extraordinary the Death of Dante Lazarescu). Shots that are not just the result of a skill in framing and photographing, but that are constantly tended by life and the words that unfold therein. Adapting texts from the Russian philosopher and poet Vladimir Soloviev, this 3:20 am film takes place in a unique place: a mansion in Transylvania where Nikolai, a large landowner, welcomes Christmas friends of aristocrat friends, of different nationalities. Between meals and board games, their main activity consists in sharing their visions of the world, essentially in French, around subjects as big as death, progress, religion, morals. We think of Manoel de Oliveira, with less humor although the film is not devoid of fantasy and strangeness. You can get lost in conversations but it is the very word that matters, the need to keep talking, to think out loud even if it turns out to be increasingly complex and perilous.

Rizi | Days by Tsai Ming-Liang

TWN 2019, Competition
Homegreen Films

Days from Tsai Ming-liang. Homegreen Films

Days by Tsai Ming-liang (in competition) marks the return to fiction after seven years of absence (since stray dogs, in 2013) from another great filmmaker of the plan, of their slow deployment over time. He is equal to himself in his new film where, far from Puiu’s talks, almost no words are spoken. Again, he becomes attached to solitudes that will eventually intersect. In the countryside, a man (Lee Kang-sheng, the filmmaker’s favorite actor since his first film) with tired and slow gestures, seems to be bored and suffering physically, requiring baths, massages and acupuncture sessions; in the city, a younger man, on the contrary, is distinguished by the dexterity of his gestures, especially when he is washing food and cooking it. In the montage that shows them evolving in parallel, elements visible in almost every plane already unite them: water, fire, plants, present in many forms. The film is tied to the meeting of the two men where, for the time of a sensual and then sexual massage, the skillful hands of the first relieve the tired body of the second, until enjoyment. It is very clear and very beautiful, no offense to the impatient.


Domangchin yeoja | The Woman Who Ran | Die Frau, die rannte by Hong Sangsoo

The Woman Who Ran from Hong Sang-soo. Jeonwonsa Film Co. Production

In Hong Sang-soo, the precision and rigor of the plans is not as obvious as in Puiu or Tsai. The Korean filmmaker, who claims Rohmer’s influence, again appears in The Woman Who Ran (presented in competition) a lightness and a simplicity that the frames, panoramas or zooms scrutinize with acuity but without will to artificially embellish their obviousness. A young woman (the magnificent filmmaker’s muse Kim Minhee) takes advantage of her husband’s business trip to visit three former friends. Through their conversations mixing very concrete and material subjects – the price of things, neighborhood problems, food, vegetarianism -, Hong deals in his own way with very contemporary questions, with a humor that gradually turns to melancholy . Ultimately, this film in which the few men who appear are troublesome and essentially filmed from behind, evokes a certain female solitude, chosen or suffered. To cold surveillance camera shots, Hong sets his gaze on the lookout, available to prodigious chances, such as this camera movement which reveals a perfectly placed and attentive cat at the end of a long shot where the stake of the conversation was precisely the presence of cats in the vicinity. A plan so miraculous that it sparked applause in an entire room of criticism in Berlin.

In the recesses of the parallel selections, a few films with modest means made, like Hong Sang-soo, of their economic poverty an engine of freshness and vitality. In Boarding (Panorama section), the new film by Guillaume Brac, declared admirer of the Korean filmmaker, we follow the summer getaway of two friends going to find in the Drôme the conquest of an evening of one of them. As in July tales (2018), Brac turns again with young actors from the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art, rediscovering something of the adventurous spirit of Jacques Rozier’s films but by matching it to the languages, cultures and customs of a very contemporary youth . As always with Brac, under his apparent humility the film is precise and dense, in addition to being funny and extremely endearing.

Magnifying glass

In Isabella (presented to Encounters), the Argentinian Matías Piñeiro films another friendly adventure, but coupled with an ambiguous rivalry. Two young theater actresses apply for the same role, that of Isabella in Measure for measure of William Shakespeare, while the brother of one is the lover of the other. It is a film about envy, in the double sense of the word – desire and jealousy – where the Rivetian play with the theater is made more complex (something new in Piñeiro) by a play with chronology and a formalism which sometimes leads to on an abstraction of colors and shapes. A captivating and confusing film that will perhaps be enjoyed above all by those who already know Piñeiro’s cinema, all the elements of which (theater, friendship, acting, speech) are here reorganized in a more free and mysterious way.

Finally, one of the great discoveries of the festival was A metamorfose dos pássaros, the first feature by Portuguese catarina Vasconcelos (presented at Encounters), shot for less than 100,000 euros. It is a biography of the filmmaker’s own family, of his grandparents and parents, reconstituted in beautiful fine-line shots essentially framing gestures, objects, photographs, and playing on materials, colors, simple visual effects (the recurrent use of a magnifying glass, for example) while voiceovers follow one another to evoke moments in the life of each. Imagine a Cavalier film filmed by Manoel de Oliveira (still him) to get an idea of ​​the beauty and originality of this minimalist and poetic family novel. The kind of unexpected little pearls that we always hope to find in this clutter of films that is a film festival as bloated as the Berlinale.

Marcos Uzal


“The scandal”, obscure object of delirium

“Ithere is always something to see, provided you know how to look “, throws Paul Wagner (Maurice Ronet), during a bourgeois reception, to a friend who was annoyed by his rascal escapade escapades. Occurring in the first third of Scandal (1967), a false crime fiction and a true philosophical treatise on madness, almost anecdotal aside seems to give the viewer the keys to the film. It’s as much a sentence of a film buff as of an entomologist, a great architect of the world, having the gift of double vision or the sense of observation, to detect what is hidden behind appearances. But above all, she says that the world is not one, there is always another story, a logic that escapes logic, and that everything is a matter of look, interpretation, and therefore delirium. This is the occult subject that this thirteenth feature hides under its twisted whimsical air, whose codes Chabrol does not really respect – crimes but no investigation, no end of story, since nothing is unequivocal . It’s almost like it’s all in the head and sick brain of a character with shaky reason. The intrigue plays on this ambiguity: following a head trauma during an attack, where a prostitute was strangled before his eyes before he lost consciousness, Paul Wagner (Ronet, masterful as a childish and disturbed hero) is sometimes subject to absences. When other women around him are murdered, everything suggests that he may be the murderer, unless he is the victim of a plot, which we imagine to have been hatched by his cousin Christine (Yvonne Furneaux), wealthy champagne merchant, married to Christopher (Anthony Perkins), a former gigolo, who wishes to sell the domain of which Paul is still the owner of the name and exerts pressure and blackmail on him. But the presence of a blonde vamp (Stéphane Audran, beauty of elusive sphynx), haunting the place, leaves other mysteries hovering …

We are far from the original idea of ​​producer Raymond Eger – a murder in a nudist camp. To the “sans-pagne”, Chabrol and his accomplice from the start, Paul Gégauff, never stingy with Lacanian puns, will have preferred “champagne”. A rotten wine, like the big bourgeoisie that the filmmaker brushes with vitriol in their decadent evenings. Gégauff’s cynical pen infuses the film with an atmosphere of destructive madness that echoes the formal biases of the staging. From the credits in the colorful colors, Chabrol accredits the idea of ​​a mental film by multiplying the plans stretched to abstraction, the fluid circular movements, the slowness, the pattern of the spiral – wink at Vertigo by Hitchcock, who also evokes the role of the double brunette / blonde woman and the presence of Anthony Perkins.

Chabrol will often say that he was influenced by the thought of the philosopher Alfred Korzybski, general semantics and non-Aristotelian logic, namely the idea that a subject is always trapped in his representations. Starting from an undecidable point – is it Paul who is mad or the world around him, or both? -, the film constantly seems to adjust to the flickering perception of the hero, often under the influence of alcohol, and this distortion of reality is visually translated by formal audacity, games of mirrors and transparencies, dense decor of heterogeneous statues and objects, and up to the creeping gestures of Ronet. An astonishing final plan, taking height, will replace the scenario writer in the position of the demiurge entomologist, observing his characters, tangled bodies, to (d) fight like three worms in a box.

Nathalie Dray

The scandal of Claude Chabrol (1967), Blu-ray € 19.99 (BQHL).