What is “native”, each of us young and old, cinephiles or not has a unique definition of something that might refer to this meaning, and the films falling into the respective category will be exactly as diverse and versatile as the concept itself. The definition opted for by the Berlinale new film program is based on the definition of the term claimed by UNESCO convention.
The series NATIVe – a Journey into Indigenous Cinema that starts at the 63 Berlinale sets itself the aim to redefine the notion of native and add an indigenous flavour to it. Not the native seen and cinematographically recorded by non-natives, but the native made and represented by the natives themselves, as the program coordinator and the initiator of the whole project, Marianne Redpath puts it is the main difference that makes the films so interesting for the spectators.
The films are supposed to offer us the unusual, the strange and other cinematographic traditions different from european heritage. Since it is this years's NATIVe focus on the works from Australia, Oceania, New Zealand and other regions of the pacific. The theme of the other as one of the major topics of the program. It is particularly interesting that each film will be preceded by an introductory short film which makes the program all the more attractive for the experimental film lovers as well as art galleries and cultural institutions that specialise on the topic.
The films selected for the program documentaries and fiction films range from 1960-is to 2002 and even more recent works by indigenous producers. Most of these have been internationally acclaimed and although they do not fall into the category of commercial cinema have been a success with indigenous public. The NATIVe project deserves particular attention not only due to its diversity experienced through the collective cinematographic experience of the spectator but also due to the fact that the selected films carry on the cultural memory expressed via the individual mechanisms of remembrance and reproduction.
The critical potential of NATIVe lies in its attempt to revive the local cinematographic tradition, the so called other cinema thus counterpointing the all-pervasive tendencies of forgetting and assimilation within the globalised communities. The element of criticism against the cultural industry is supposed to encourage experimental strategies in filmmaking, alternative ways of representation and narrative techniques of local film industries versus global entertainment industries.
Well before the programs begins and the spectator gets into the cinema halls all ready for the idiosyncratic and the extraordinary we are all full of expectations and high hopes for the NATIVe and its curator Maryanne Redpath and the team. A good example for other Festivals to follow. As for the Georgian cinema, with it's brilliant heritage of indigenous thematics in film, the chances for the future seem to be promising.