The 5th KINO German festival will bring 12 “serious, solid and unique” German movies to Macao starting on Friday, Cut Company Limited Operating Director and Curator Rita Wong Yeuk Ying told the Macau Post Daily in an interview at ORA Coffee Tap Seac on Rua Filipe O’Costa this week.
Wong said that German movies always have meaning but admitted that they could be hard to digest. She was quick to add that she and her team chose a selection of movies that are suitable for “beginner-level” art-house film watchers and art-house film buffs.
Wong noted that her company, Cut Company Ltd, has been working with the German Goethe-Institut in Hong Kong since 2016, pointing out that KINO (the German word for cinema) has a longer history in Hong Kong than in Macau.
“Our festival has always been very well-received in Macau. Over the years we have accumulated over 60,000 attendees at our movie screenings,” Wong said.
Creativity behind walls
When asked about this year’s theme for the film-fest, Wong held up the festival brochure and said, “The theme is expressed in its cover”.
The brochure’s cover has a short-haired woman dressed all in black smoking a cigarette and sitting on a bench with a book next to her. Behind her is a high wall and a bit of blue sky with a few clouds.
Wong said the high wall represents a controlled and repressed environment and the woman on the bench with a book and a cigarette represents creativity and analysis.
“What we wanted to say was that even with walls around you, creativity, the ability to analyse and freedom can still exist. I think this concept is very suitable for society currently,” Wong said.
According to Wong, based on this theme, her team decided to use “Enfant Terrible” as the opening film. She pointed out that the movie is about a famous German movie director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, adding that his style is “out-of-rules”, “rebellious” and “unconventional-German style”.
Wong said a lot of the festival’s films are female-focused and family-oriented. She said that a lot of people think that German films are usually very serious, but she wants to let the audience learn more about German movies through a more light-hearted angle.
“You have to ease the audiences in to draw their interest [in German films], then continue to feed them with material so that their interest will grow,” Wong said.
She also said that the number of attendees has grown beyond expectation, even though in this year’s festival there are fewer shows and new locations, but still she expects around 1,000 people to attend the screenings.
One-inch tall barrier
Bong Joon Ho, the director of a famous South Korean movie “Parasite”, said at the Oscars last year that “once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”.
When asked whether subtitles are a problem in Macau, Wong said locals are very used to watching subtitles.
“Maybe because of the co-existence of Chinese and Portuguese culture in Macau, generally speaking, locals are intrigued by European cultures,” Wong said.
According to Wong, at first, the German festival movies did not come with Chinese subtitles but they realised that in order to attract more locals Chinese subtitles are essential. Therefore, Wong said, her team decided to spend more time and effort on arranging Chinese subtitles for local spectators.
Wong said that usually classic German films draw cinema-goers’ interest, adding that Director-In-Focus films are the second most popular genre that attracts spectators.
When asked which movie is her favourite out of the 12, she said it’s “Marianne & Juliane” because she loves how the director wisely chose two sisters’ points of view to film the movie, which allows the characters of the movie to be more developed and detailed.
She also recommended “I have Never Been To New York” because it’s the first time a German musical will be screened in Macau.
Wong said that people in general usually have the misconception that art-house films are boring and hard to digest, therefore her team has selected new audience-friendly films for first comers and workshops for those who want to discuss them further.
“The main difference between art-house films and other movies is that art-house films welcome interpretations and discussions, it allows one to digest and think. It is the beauty of it and I wish more people could appreciate it,” Wong said.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
PHOTO © CUT Company Limited