Night Sight 2016

Why We Need Madness

(Markus Keuschnigg, curator)

When the world comes unhinged, when old ghosts are at large, when borders are built up and not torn down, in other words when all of that is present at the beginning of the 21st century as ultima ratio, then it is good to give in to madness. Not in the psycho-pathological sense, but rather as a counter-position to distressing rationality: there is little that is as liberating as madness, and the fantastic film is the vessel in which it snaps at us most glaringly, most irresistibly, most colorfully.

“Sometimes it’s better to be a little crazy than to be an extra in your own life, doing and believing everything you’re told!” This statement is made in Alex de la Iglesia’s frenetic My Big Night, altogether a tremendous feast of madness, which is celebrated and thus first enables catharsis.

The over-amplified and immoderate is always also a direct attack on conventions that we think we have to uphold, so as not to attract attention. In this sense, the five suggestions for this year’s Night Sight are an invitation to become conspicuous and offensive. Hardly any of them can be pressed into a certain genre, wildly proliferating instead beyond all attributions: absurd vintage pornos with Japanese sex robots and copulating roller-skaters are montaged together as a science fiction grotesque; Spanish youth workers go for one another’s throats; man-eating mermaids become a celebrated nightclub act, and behind the walls of an old villa, a woman discovers a surreal labyrinth of passageways, arches and emotions, populated by eerie creatures.

What all these films have in common is that they cannot and do not want to deal with reality and propose ecstatic alternatives instead: they do not look to the outside, but rather to the inside, and they drag fear, excess, lunacy and madness out of our bodies and plant them directly on the screen. In this sense, I look forward to battling against rationality with all of you, until our bodies and souls tremble and quake. For ever and ever.