press release

Crooks, Cops and Smoking Guns: goEast's 2016 Symposium Investigates the Crime Film Genre

goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, to take place from 20 to 26 April, is entirely devoted to examining the crime film and promises to bring hitherto widely unknown takes on the beloved genre to festival screens in Wiesbaden.

Traditionally, every year as a sort of festival within the festival goEast presents a symposium on a topic that is relevant from a film-historical or sociological perspective, inviting experts and bringing veritable cinematic treasures from European archives to Wiesbaden for the occasion. With this year's emphasis on crime films from Central and Eastern Europe, the Symposium will devote itself from 21 to 24 April to a production culture that has garnered scant attention up until now. Under the title "In the Shadows: Crime and the Daily Grind in Central and Eastern European Genre Cinema post 1945", curator Olaf Möller has assembled a programme, consisting of twelve films and six presentations, that approaches this complex field of topics from various angles.

A closer look to the East reveals that the crime film enjoys a level of popularity there akin to that in Germany - a popularity that is not merely reflected in the considerable number of productions that the region has turned out over the years. The crime film seems capable of capturing contemporary history, lived realities and the daily grind in a way that hardly any other genre can. The twelve film productions from twelve separate countries on display at goEast all focus on different periods - from the immediate post-war years up to the present day - while spanning the same overall production period together. Among other highlights, Latvian master of genre cinema Aloizs Brencs delivers powerful images of a Riga in decline in BEING UNWANTED (USSR 1976), the DEFA crime film NOW AND IN THE HOUR OF MY DEATH (GDR 1962, directed by Konrad Petzold) denounces the political establishment in a young Bonn Republic that has only been superficially de-Nazified, while Wojciech Smarzowski uncovers offences committed by the communist police during the martial law era in THE DARK HOUSE (Poland 2009).

The conditions and developments particular to the individual countries, as well as their unique depiction on the screen, have given rise to utterly unique regional takes on the crime film. So it is for instance that vigilante films are more common in Russian genre cinema, such as Yuriy Bykov's LIVE! (Russia 2010), while in a Serbia recovering from the Balkan wars a very specific, highly violent form of film noir managed to establish itself - represented here by Ðorde Milosavljevic's THE MECHANISM (Serbia 2000).

In spite of the diversity and great number of productions in the genre, the Central and Eastern European crime film has hardly received any attention from scholars and critics up until now. The Symposium aims to address the origin of this imbalance over the course of the event's four days. An intensive investigation of the subject will be provided by six presentations as well as a panel discussion at the conclusion of the conference.

goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film is hosted by Deutsches Filminstitut and supported by numerous partners. The festival is primarily funded by the Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, the State Capital Wiesbaden, Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" (EVZ), Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland, BHF-BANK Foundation, the Adolf und Luisa Haeuser-Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege, the Federal Foreign Office, the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, Deutsch-Tschechische Zukunftsfonds, Krušovice and Renovabis. Media partners include among others 3sat, the FAZ, hr-iNFO and sensor.