Deepfake analysis and robot dystopias: short films from Eastern Europe to watch online

Deepfake analysis and robot dystopias: short films from Eastern Europe to watch online
Still from Ieva (2021)

30 April 2021

The 67th edition of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen is opening this weekend, with a plethora of films from Eastern Europe available to watch online.

The festival, which is taking place both virtually and in-person from 1 to 10 May in the German town of Oberhausen, features more than 400 short films, including international premieres across several categories that showcase the industry’s latest debuts.

Highlights from Eastern Europe include dystopian Lithuanian film Ieva, by Vytautas Plukas and Domas Petronis, and Split, a short film about a divorce taking place in the homonymous Croatian resort by director Renata Poljak.

Non-fiction cinema from the region is also taking the spotlight with Before The Fall There Was No Fall. Episode 2: Surfaces, a Dutch-Bosnian co-production by director Anna Dasović. The short juxtaposes archival images of the UN military before the Srebrenica massacre with contemporary footage, questioning the role of Dutch soldiers in 1995 events. Another documentary, God Beloi Luni, by Russian director Maxim Pechersky, explores a mother-son relationship through recordings of phone conversations about astrological predictions, relationship problems, and karaoke singing.

The festival programme also caters for animation-lovers with Cântec de Leagăn (or Lullaby) by Paul Mureșan, a short on love and pain in family relationships, and Eszter Szabó’s Széphercegnő, an experimental film on the limitations of physical movement. Another animated offering, Pole Žin, by Czech directors Marie Lukáčová and Anna Remešová, is a critical video essay on the exploitation of the landscape in North Bohemia.

Among the programme’s most politically-charged films is Adversarial Infrastructure by Russian director Anna Engelhardt. Employing deepfake technology as a research method, the film investigates the history of the Crimean annexation through the lens of Russian colonial violence as hybrid warfare that exists in both the offline and online spaces.

The festival’s opening ceremony will take place on Saturday 1 May at 18.30 GMT. You can check out the full programme here and purchase a festival pass here.

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