a film by Ascan Breuer, Ursula Hansbauer, Wolfgang Konrad

in coop with The Voice Refugee Forum and others


A/D 2005 - b/w - 50min - betaSP / miniDV / DVD / VHS - english

distributed by sixpackfilm




Forst is a portrayal. The documentary tells about a forest in the middle of Europe far from the urban world and from civilisation which is home to a peculiar community of the banished – it is a world for the stranded. A diffuse system that still has total control makes sure that this world doesn´t show itself, that it doesn´t pop up in our reality and become a disturbance. In Forst the banished proclaim their own truth and tell the story of their empowerment. They slowly recall their identity as political refugees and start to make plans for their escape... The film shot on 16mm-B/W was made in cooperation with the refugees, who mostly play themselves. By way of fragmented interviews they tell the story of their powerlessness and their empowerment. [fr] [de]


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"...Forst refuses radically dominant documentary truth politics which control the public picture of migration. The video does not admit the ambivalent reinterpretation of occupied metaphors, rather offers access to universal validity of the experience of refugees..." Hito Steyerl [en] [de]


"...Some people were really angry, they had red eyes when they left the film. They were just shocked. The film shows isolation so clearly that many people just aren’t able to stand it. They refuse to accept that this problem really exists. I think that Forst is one of the most important references in the analysis of the refugees’ situation and struggle..." Osaren Igbinoba, The Voice [en] [de]


"Forst uses the cinematic medium to move within the conflict area between hard-won political subjectivity and the visualization of controlling structures… The question arises, which film language is able to cinematically negotiate the structural violence against the background of hard-earned political subjectivity?… Forst grapples with the structure of the powerful view. It is the view of the non-illegalized and in this sense, the privileged majority. In showing the view of those associated with this position the film makes this self-evident power position explicit… Power visualized in this manner and the threat of this view connected with it positions the audience in the context of the relationship between dominant power and powerlessness. This practice of the cinematic production of meaning questions the objectivity of the powerful “normal” view. In the invisibility, structural violence is made visible on many levels; the normalization of absolute disenfranchisement is fundamentally challenged… Forst challenges established representation traditions. In contrast to the dominant victimizing imagery codes, the audience is not fed pictures of “suffering faces” that appeal to their empathy…" Araba Johnston-Arthur [en] [de]


"...Forst is disturbing and leaves open hundreds of questions: it is ambiguous-dubious, mythic-monolithic, obscure and anti-enlightening... Forst doesn´t seem to want to negotiate or discuss: it is neither self-reflexive nor self-critical. The spectator won´t find indications of authenticity, but is left with an unpleasant feeling of helplessness and the urge to contradict... There is something in the film that provokes doubt – about the monumental truth the film suggests on the one hand, and about the truth the spectator claims for himself or herself on the other hand. In the worst case Forst compels the spectator into an indignant position of defense, in the best case it initiates productive self-doubt... Forst is an un-documentary – and thereby an u-topia: Forst documents a struggle at a hardened front, the struggle for reality. The view of the narrators stands facing the one of the spectator provokingly, bravingly and overbearingly..." Amon Brandt [fr] [de]


"...The film, which with a language of pictures and sound stands out as unconventional, reflects radical aesthetics and through its cinematic abstraction makes a strong political statement in support of a courageous refugee initiative... Without showing any faces, the film subtly presents individual destinies and describes a situation that leaves one feeling irritated..." DIAGONALE-Jury [en] [de]


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contact distribution, filmmakers (en)

credits participants (en)


screenings festivals & cinema shows

+++ [REVIEWS]+++

review by Araba Johnston-Arthur [de] [en]

review by Hito Steyerl [de] [en]

review by iz3w [de] [en]

DIAGONALE-award for best documentary (de/en)


reportage about "The Voice" by Frankfurter Rundschau [de] [en]

interview with participating refugees [de]

film-theory: "Outlines of a "Theory of the "Undocumentary" [de] [en]

+++ [PRINT] +++

offical info-sheet by sixpackfilm [PDF] (de/en/fr)

 [NEW]  The FORST-Reader print all texts [PDF] (en) 

DIAGONALE-Materialien #005 [PDF] (de)



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