March 31st, 2017
by Aline Bovin
Aline Bonvin is film maker and part of the filmArche, one of the project partners of be a better being. She directed our project documentary. Bobby Henzler and Aline Bovin worked closely together. Read more about their exchange and the documentary in their conversation about the documentary.
Bobby Henzler: You’ve been involved with the “be a better being” project from the very beginning. After going through so much preparation, what was it like to finally experience the Forum?
Aline Bonvin: Two years ago I took part in Europe Unlimited, which you had organized together with Magdalena Nowicka. That was pretty similar in terms of format and I like this format: watching the films and then talking about them. Christoph Saber put it very nicely in his interview: The Forum is / was another place than a film festival would be, a place where you can have very philosophical discussions. It’s not just about film making, but particularly at this point, with civil society becoming more active, it is important to have a format like this. Where you can freely discuss important social topics. The moderator (Anna Henckel Donnersmarck) played a big part in making it what it is! The format is pretty unique and many attendees may not have understood it at first, and she did a very good job.
Bobby Henzler: Miriam Teschl said something similar in her interview, that the format explodes the conventional boundaries. The film makers are outside of their comfort zone and suddenly find themselves discussing their topics with scientists. I am grateful that the film makers were so willing to participate. It takes a lot of effort to find another language and to engage with another discipline. The same goes for the scientists.
Aline Bovin: I think that it was really enriching for both sides. And I would imagine that film makers like Christoph Saber, who focus on social topics in their work, really enjoyed it. It was noticeable in the films that were selected that the film makers really had a lot to stay. The Forum was a place where you could finally talk about it.
What I found very interesting was the very different perspectives that we got to hear during the conversations. Some of my expectations were positively “disappointed”. You always come into this kind of thing with preconceived ideas about how someone is going to think or behave. And in the end it was so different from what I’d expected. There were a lot of opinions shared that really surprised me. It was really interesting.
Bobby Henzler: How did you go about making this documentary? For example, how did you select the film clips that went into the final version?
Aline Bonvin: The point was also to engage with creative questions. Or to find another connection – especially in regard to the panel discussion. For the short film Enact and the first panel discussion, I was very inspired by Hilke.
With “Discipline” it was very difficult: the dynamic in the film is a domino effect, and the effect goes in all kinds of directions. I went back to the panel discussion in which participants talked about democracy and whether it makes sense to take a pre-fabricated system somewhere else in the world, no matter whether it fits with the culture there or not. It takes a long time to integrate a system like that. One panelist also pointed out that there are many different forms of democracy… I found that very interesting, together with what Christoph Saber said and also what he’d shown in his film.
Bobby Henzler: In the documentary, you focused exclusively on the Swiss family and the lawyer, and by extension on a certain “type” of cultural conflict between parents and the childless.
Aline Bonvin: I thought that was very good because there you can already sense the question about how far something can go before it becomes encroaching. It’s at the border to the private sphere that is being crossed. The panel discussion was very interesting and dealt with boundaries intensively and in different ways. Just like the film: it’s right at the border to racism, the borders to the private sphere are constantly being crossed in the film. The film and the discussion really enriched each other. It was no longer about individuals but about society.
Aline Bovin studied Philosophy, Literature and Filmtheory in Lausanne, Switzerland and Montage/Editing @ filmArche, Berlin She is board member of the filmArche since 2015.