The shortage of affordable housing in big cities already stands as a global problem. The increasing privatisation of common housing properties, the rising costs of real estate and rent push out those who are unable to live in the city. Elsewhere, informal settlements represent both the failure of humane politics as well as the autonomy and self-organization of migrants. The traditional class struggle between work and capital appears to now be replaced by a struggle for space.
The film series Landscapes of Living focuses on how social, economic and cultural inequalities are inscribed into urban and rural living spaces. In addition to the political dimension of the housing question, the selection of international and predominately Latin American documentary films pursues the everyday worlds on the periphery as well as the topic of post-colonial migration and transformation processes.
The spectrum of filmic practices in Landscapes of Living – ranging from long-term observations to fictional constructions of reality to highly subjective narrative styles – makes apparent the areas of tension between appropriation and dispossession, participation and security in a special way. The mechanisms of social exclusion and structural violence are contrasted to narratives full of empathy, humour and resistance.
Florian Wüst is an independent film curator, artist, and publisher based in Berlin. He co-founded the Berlin Journals—On the History and Present State of the City. From 2016-2020 he worked as a film and video curator of transmediale.
74 m2 documents a construction project by the internationally renowned architecture firm Elemental in Valparaíso over the course of seven years. 150 families – who had until then lived in part without running water and electricity – had the opportunity to collectively build a cluster of owner-occupied apartments. The film shows the difficult participatory process which didn’t end with the completion of the housing units. Instead, the interior work was left in the hands of each owner – whether they had the means or not.
Pia Mastrantonio studied Architecture at the Catholic University of Valparaíso. In 2012, she moved to Europe in order to focus on public spaces. Since 2014 she lives and works as landscape architect in Berlin.
Kurdwin Ayub accompanies her father Omar to the Autonomous Region Kurdistan in northern Iraq, from where the family fled to Austria many years ago. She tries to fathom why her father desperately wants to buy a second apartment that is only a stone’s throw away from the IS territories. Yet despite all the conflicts, construction is booming. Omar too wants to invest in a utopian future – be it out of spite for the Viennese tax office, out of homesickness or out of newly awakened patriotism.
In the outskirts of Belo Horizonte, favelas are given female names. Juliana Antunes and her almost entirely female crew film two friends, Leid and Andreia, just when Andreia is about to move to the neighbouring slum called Baronesa. Antunes depicts the life in and outside of the makeshift homes from a purely female perspective, portraying a life only a few low walls or metal sheets away from gang warfare that is never shown, but whose violence pervades the main characters' daily fates.
Shirley Rodrigues is born in Belo Horizonte. There she learned afro-brazilian dance, capoeia and yoga, and she was active in the black movement. She has been living in Berlin for 18 years and studied philosophy at TU Berlin.
Andrés Cháves, Colombia 2011, 24 min, OmeU
After its closure by the Colombian government in 2001, the legendary hospital La Hortúa in Bogotá was squatted in by former employees and their families. Andrés Cháves' short documentary observes their daily routines in the solitude of the crumbling buildings.
Martín Oesterheld, Argentina 2012, 60 min, OmeU
In La Multitud, Martín Oesterheld looks at two derelict entertainment complexes in Buenos Aires built during different dictatorships, nowadays mainly traversed by migrants living in the area: a city shown from its ends.
Rosario Talevi is an architect based in Berlin. She is a graduate of the University of Buenos Aires and former DAAD fellow. Her practice incorporates pedagogical, editorial and curatorial projects relating to contemporary architecture and urbanism.
Benji was brought to the GDR from Namibia as a small child in 1979 and was sent back there after the reunification. Angelika Levi met him in 1991 during filming in Namibia. Two years later Benji is hitchhiking towards Europe. Absent Present sketches out stations in Benji’s life and looks for reasons and causes for his sudden disappearance. A search that becomes a starting point for a journey to different places characterised by continuous departure and arrival.
Angelika Levi is a filmmaker and video artist. She studied at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb). In 2015, her documentary Miete essen Seele auf was initially shown in the exhibition Wohnungsfrage at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.
In the 1980s a young couple disappeared in Chiloé, an island in the south of Chile. The myth surrounding the story inspires the acclaimed Chilean director Ignacio Agüero to make a film about it. Years later, Agüero travels to Chiloé in search of locations and actors. José Luis Torres Leiva accompanies Agüero in his documentary, discovering the special character of the landscape while revealing the connection between small events and major social and political traumas.
Victor Cubillos studied Journalism in Santiago de Chile and Film Theory at FU Berlin. In 2012, he founded CasaVera Films. He has produced and directed the mockumentary April 31st and Morales, el reformador.