at 68th Berlinale
The film is included in the Forum section of the festival, that comprises avant garde, experimental works, essays, long-term observations, political reportage and yet-to-be-discovered cinematic landscapes: the International Forum of New Cinema, Forum in short, is the most daring section of the Berlinale.
La Casa Lobo tells the story of Maria, a young refugee stationed in southern Chile after escaping from a sect. The film is inspired by Colonia Dignidad, a secretive and controversial sect in southern Chile established in the sixties by German immigrants. León & Cociña tell the story as if they were part of the sect. They pretend to be Colonia Dignidad’s animation film company and make the film as an indoctrinating fairy tale.
For the incredibly time-consuming production process of the film, the duo initiated a nomadic studio project setting up temporary workshops in museums and other art institutions. Starting at Upstream Gallery in 2013 during their exhibition Flowers, the studio has traveled to Casa Maauad in Mexico City, Modern Art Museum Buenos Aires, Contemporary Art Museum of Chile and the Media Arts Biennale in Santiago de Chile among other locations. Each time, La Casa Lobo was presented as a work in progress. And by making the set part of the exhibition, the working process itself is turned into an artwork.
With their experimental films, León & Cociña create a new interpretation of the religious symbolism and magical rituals that are deeply rooted in the traditional culture of Latin America. The surrealistic, esoteric films of Chilean underground filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky but also the aesthetics of children’s fairy tales are sources of inspiration for the duo. A distinctive, unpolished cinematographic language furthermore characterizes the stop-motion films by León & Cociña. The paper mache figures and innocent-looking drawings strongly contrast with the heavy topics such as religion, sex and death that the films deal with. Influenced by psychoanalytic theory, the artists seem to tap from a nightmarish collective subconscious. Their world is populated by sinister shadows and creatures that are constantly subject to metamorphosis, and seem to come straight from a hallucination or a fever dream. Yet the atmosphere can shift quickly and the ominous creatures dissolve as quickly as they appeared.
The Berlin International Film Festival takes place 15 – 25 February 2018. Its public programme shows about 400 films per year, mostly international or European premieres. Films of every genre, length and format find their place in the various sections: great international cinema in the Competition, independent and art house in Panorama, films for young audiences in Generation, new discoveries and promising talents from the German film scene in Perspektive Deutsches Kino, avant garde, experimental and unfamiliar cinematography in the Forum and Forum Expanded, and an exploration of cinematic possibilities in Berlinale Shorts. The Berlinale Special, including Berlinale Special Gala, is showing new and extraordinary productions and honours great cinema personalities. Berlinale Special Series, which began in 2015, presents selected international series. The programme is rounded out by a Retrospective as well as an Homage, which focuses on the œuvre of a great personality of cinema, curated by the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen. Beginning in 2013, the Retrospective expanded to include presentations of Berlinale Classics. They show current restorations of film classics as well as rediscovered films.Published: 22/2/2018