State of the Festival: International Film Festival Oberhausen 2021

State of the Festival:  International Film Festival Oberhausen 2021
Relativity (1966)My long-awaited first visit to the International Film Festival Oberhausen was canceled last year, due to the pandemic, so I was thrilled to finally experience the festival this year, albeit via streaming. The 67th edition took place in a dual format, online and with somewhat expanded in-person screenings in Oberhausen (though the online offerings themselves were ample). Founded in 1954, Oberhausen played a decisive role in fostering avant-garde and experimental filmmaking during the Cold War, when much of Eastern Europe suffered the brunt of censorship. It wasn’t uncommon for films that remained unscreened or were banned in their native countries to premiere and win prizes at Oberhausen, and so be saved from critical and public oblivion. Given its longstanding legacy, it was invigorating to see Oberhausen bring a wide-ranging historical perspective to its online platform. Such emphasis helped avoid a common pitfall at other, more industry-driven festivals, whose online
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