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So many films, so little time

November 6, 2009

If you happen to be in Copenhagen in the next couple of weeks CPH:DOX, a documentary film festival, starts today and runs all the way until the 15th of November. There are  200 films being shown, plus extras like concerts and debates. Needless to say, there is a lot to be excited about, even from a library and information science perspective (imagine that!).

There are quite a few films that, directly or indirectly, confront and speak to new media technologies and the reality of living (or not) in an information society.

New media and information technology have permeated societies in varying degrees, creating inequalities of information access. Sometimes the information divide is calculated control. One of the focuses of CPH:DOX this year is Iran and there are quite a few films about the country and its people. There will also be a seminar called The revolution will be twittered – Iran and the Internet. I’m not totally sure what to expect from the seminar, but I am really looking forward to hearing what the invited speakers have to say.

Tehran Without Permission shows us Iran from a mobile phone camera. The director Sepideh Farsi tells us that

At home people wear their hair uncovered and listen to the music and watch the movies they want. Iranians like to get their television by satellite and from the whole world. If a policeman should knock at the door, he gives them a summons and confiscates the satellite dish. So we go and buy another. Everything can be seen in Tehran, even CNN or [the Franco-German arts channel] Arte. But when you go out in the street, there are religious messages everywhere, propaganda, and the “good moral police.” It’s schizophrenic. I often wonder how Iranians keep all of this together. (taken from The New Yorker)

There are many other films that talk about new media and information technology in other contexts, and there are even more that are about something else entirely. I’ll post about some of the things I see during the festival in the next couple weeks. Looking forward!

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