unclassifiable films

When I asked Christoph Terhechte, the programmer for Berlinale’s Forum section whether Invisible City will be in the documentary section in that festival, he told me that the Forum section does not differentiate between documentaries and non documentaries. He said their film synopses make no mention of the work’s genre because as far as he is concerned differences are cosmetic. The Forum audiences can make film choices without those labels.

Nantes Festival of 3 continents this year conflated the 2 categories together too. On their website, it said, “This change has been made in reaction to the arrival on the cinematic landscape of unclassifiable films and the increasing importance of documentaries on the 3 continents.”

Is this a trend, the onslaught of “unclassifiable films”? Or are festivals/viewers finally waking up to the folly of having sections in their programmes. Should I read the rejecction note from San Sebastian Festival in that light too? Usually rejection notes say “We received too many films this year, please try again next year” but theirs was atypical, they said “We watched and discussed it, we think it is really interesting but we don’t have a place to put your film”. Is it not documentary, (read PBS, Michael Moore) enough? Or just not good enough. Like a spurned lover we keep wondering what they mean.

Jill Godmilow on The Liberal Documentary