04 março 2024

Berlinale 2024 - em defesa da liberdade de expressão

No post anterior falei sobre o aceso debate suscitado pelas críticas à guerra de Gaza que foram feitas na cerimónia de encerramento da Berlinale. Há políticos responsáveis na área da Cultura a anunciar o fim de apoios financeiros a "artistas anti-semitas", há instituições a anunciar que vão rever os apoios de financiamento à Berlinale. Neste contexto de "crime e castigo" (sendo que o crime é uma acusação de "anti-semitismo" segundo critérios que poucos entendem), esta declaração de Carlo Chatrian e Mark Peranson aparece como uma lufada de ar fresco:

March 1, 2024

We have a great deal of respect for the institution we are working for and for the country that has hosted us for the last five years. The way Germany has handled its past and overcome it, becoming a leading country in supporting human rights and welcoming people in distress has been admirable, and that is one of the reasons why we have been so proud to work for the Berlinale. Knowing that our backgrounds don’t allow us to fully comprehend the complexity of people’s feelings and beliefs, we have always aligned with the festival’s decisions even when these were not exactly ours and at times did not go in the direction of what an international film festival should stand for.

The last days have made us aware of the great danger that the Berlinale, like other institutions in Germany, is facing. That’s why we dare to raise our voices. We stand for cinema, which doesn’t belong to any political party- it is neither right wing nor left wing. We believe in the power of cinema to unite people. This year’s festival was a place for dialogue and exchange for ten days; yet once the films stopped rolling, another form of communication has been taken over by politicians and the media, one which weaponizes and instrumentalizes anti-Semitism for political means. No matter our individual political convictions or beliefs, we should all keep in mind that freedom of speech is an essential part of what defines a democracy. The award ceremony on Saturday, February 24 has been targeted in such a violent way that some people now see their lives threatened. This is unacceptable.

We stand in solidarity with all filmmakers, jury members, and other festival guests who have received direct or indirect threats, and do not back down from any programming choices made at this ear’s Berlinale. We also take this opportunity to state that we deeply feel for the hostages still being held by Hamas, including former Berlinale guest David Cunio, and we call for an immediate release of all other hostages. We also feel for the lives of millions of people in Gaza; their lives are in danger. To the ones who say that it is either or, we want to remind you that sorrow is universal. Mourning the loss of human beings on one side doesn’t mean that we don’t mourn others’ losses too. Stating the opposite is simply dishonest, and shameful and polarizing behavior.

As festivalgoers and programmers, we truly hope that the Berlinale will stay a “window of the free world”. A place where any film can be shown. A place where any international guest can come without having their political views scrutinized. As Meron Mendel, director of the Bildungsstätte Anne Frank said when asked for comments regarding the award ceremony, “It would be wrong to describe all those who criticize Israel one-sidedly and sometimes with radical positions as antisemites…

Whether we like it or not, we have to learn to endure such debates!

Carlo Chatrian, artistic director

Mark Peranson, head of programming

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