A pregnant widow in Iran, a cartoon joint of whale and woman meets a mix of boy and girl in the third session of the Berlinale Shorts.

Ahd is the first Saudi woman ever to study acting and filmmaking in the USA – Sanctity is written and directed by her, and she also plays the title role, which is compelling since her character is a woman in present-day Iran wearing a burqa whenever she leaves her house, a widow mourning her husband, and a soon-to-be mother dealing with her pregnancy. So many untold stories from a woman’s perspective, one can say, so choosing a 37-minute length was not the best choice. The story has so much inside, it could have been made as a feature film as well, so when the end credits came we felt kind of disappointed.

It is not any better for the cartoon characters either – you can be annoying workers or strange creatures somewhere between whales and women, you just won’t meet in the middle. The directors of Whaled Women, Ewa Einhorn and Jeuno Je Kim have chosen a funny style similar to that of South Park to tell their story about integration and being different, with many four-letter words the audience tends to buy.

Misterio is about women again, factory workers reaching out to the Holy Virgin speaking out of someone’s nape. It has a very strange, very cool atmosphere with a unique look and a very strange ending I don’t want to spoil for you. I would have even said that Misterio was the best short so far at the Berlinale, if I had not seen Undress Me – right after it.

Ta Av Mig – Undress Me actually raises such a hard question in a brilliant short film that I’ve kept thinking about it ever since I saw it. Just like the Serbian documentary When I Was a Boy, I Was a Girl, this short is also about transsexualism, but in a much gentler situation: an everyday life situation after sex change. It was so playful and witty, smart and emotional that I could not even tell what I saw – the joke of the century based on a skinny feminine body or it was for real: a man’s body after a sex change? (The same problem I had with Traumfrau – Berlinale Shorts do provoke us with these boundaries between regularity and irregularity, don’t they?)

¬†Echo’s dreamlike black and white universe was full of strange creatures and movements, and although it was nice and good to watch, somehow these serious topics around it made the film look easy going, which is absolutely not true. But a short that would perfectly work for the web as well. Upload to Daazo this very moment!

A popular meme has just appeared on the Internet nowadays – third world children in Africa reading out first world problems (HERE), and I cannot interpret About Ndugu in any other way but in this context. This short kind of makes the sequel to the movie about Schmidt (you know, the one with Jack Nicholson) – a sweet kid in Africa tries to find a wife for his foster father – just to make sure how far our worlds are in reality (or in realistic fictions).

One thing is sure: the Berlinale Shorts dealing with these cultural and gender boundaries bring things closer to us.

text: Anita Libor