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IDFA - Operation Jane Walk & Progress vs Sunsets

The digital war zone of a shooter game provides the setting for an architectural tour of a post-apocalyptic New York.

Idfaposter

operation jane walk

(Leonhard Müllner, Robin Klengel, AUT 2017, spoken in English, 17')

Tom Clancy”s The Division is a popular video game set in a post-apocalyptic New York. The buildings are partly in ruins, abandoned cars litter the streets and the rule of law has collapsed. This bleak cityscape can only be treaded in full combat gear—this is the backdrop for Operation Jane Walk.

Rather than taking on the role of a vigilante, the players become peaceful digital tourists on an architectural tour of the city. The guide explains recent architectural history in light of political developments, and takes them to a number of iconic buildings that include UN Headquarters, the former Pan Am Building and Trump Tower. The city he shows is the scene of a conflict between the highway-building public official Robert Moses and the activist Jane Jacobs, author of the famous book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Accompanied by a clever soundtrack, the result combines absurdism and black humor in an alternative writing of history.

progress vs sunsets

(Melanie Bonajo, NL 2017, spoken in Dutch, 49')

The biggest stars on YouTube are animals. Thousands of videos with wild or domesticated animals in the lead role are uploaded every day. Children watch these films eagerly, and often use them as their main source of information. Editing the children into the animal videos themselves, Melanie Bonajo asks a group of elementary school children about their thoughts on the environment and animal welfare. The answers betray a distorted view of nature, but also a generous portion of unadulterated idealism and empathy. In the second part of the film, dressed in fantasy costumes, the children take revenge on the polluting adult world by smashing up a wrecked car.

Bonajo has built an oeuvre focusing on marginalized figures such as hunter-gatherers or members of a sex commune. The reality of these children also lies just outside the mainstream. They are determined to make the world a better place, and transform it to match their ideal. Nevertheless, they sometimes take a less idealistic attitude: “I”m happy to live a less luxurious life, as long as everybody else does, too…” Have the seeds of adult behavior already been sown?

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