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Film is something that never ceases to surprise us; its impact has evolved in a relatively short period of time and has created, through a variety of techniques, its own unique identity within established art forms.
An idea sketched or a few words on a piece of paper can turn into a real and moving story embracing millions of people in various cultures.
Unfortunately, the impact of film and media can also be misused by governments, corporations and individuals. Manipulation through media is of all times. However, in the current social media environment, things can escalate and reputations can be damaged in a matter of hours.
As long ago as 1938, the New York City community and beyond experienced the effects of a radio broadcast by Orson Welles that caused panic among its listeners. The broadcast was interrupted by news of a landing of Martians that were aggressively invading the Earth, with futile efforts by the U.S. military to stop it. There was widespread outrage in the media, which resulted in a regulation against such a form of deceit. Nevertheless the whole episode established Orson Welles’ fame as a dramatist.
Fake news is hot these days, and it’s a global phenomenon. When news reaches us, we don’t always know it’s fake, and we are forced to check the information we digest. To make things even more complicated, some world leaders call real things fake and fake things real.
When we watch a film, we know it’s not real; we love it, hate it, are bored or horrified, but we know it’s film. We leave the cinema with an experience that we cherish or reject.
‘Redu’, a local expression, could be seen as the ‘godmother’ of fake news. It’s the grapevine. We know it’s not true, but we listen to it, repeat it, and sometimes if it gets too close, we stop it. However redu has an irresistible attraction for us. Just like fake news, just like film. The reality of fake news and redu is a destructive force, whereas the reality of film as an art form is a creative force (it makes life more interesting without damaging people).
In some of the films in this festival you can experience fake news and redu in action. We see fake news in politics (Bellingcat, Loro). We see redus about people who are ‘different’ (Rafiki, Aan niets overleden, Dirty God), about people ‘who don’t fit into the group’ (Joel) or people who choose another path (Capharnaüm, Bangla, Doubles vies) and about manipulation in Out of Tune.