Drugs in Film - A Cinematic Symposium is a film festival in Berlin that will analyze how the representation of drugs in film can highlight societal views while also affecting our collective perception and cultural trends. The festival presents a series of films, new and old, that demonstrate the diverse representation of narcotics and stimulants on screen.
Since the beginning of cinema, drugs have been represented in a range of forms and perspectives. Each year the depiction slowly changes, offering a reflection of the cultural trends of the time. Over the past century of drugs in film, the perspective has switched between positive, neutral and negative, as portrayed in propaganda films, exploitation films and award-winning feature films.
The highlight of the festival is the German premiere of the latest film to tackle the representation of opioid use, “Heaven Knows What.” Set in contemporary post-financial crash New York, it depicts the story of a pair of lovers whose relationship is wrought by the daily struggle of addiction. “Heaven Knows What” resets the genre of drug addiction drama by combining stylistic cinematography with an incredible autobiographical performance by first-time actor Arielle Holmes.
As well as film screenings, Drugs in Film - A Cinematic Symposium also features special guest talks by experts discussing the films and how they relate to the societal norms of their time. Guest speakers include Prof. Dr. Martin Lüthe and Prof. Dr. Markus Kienscherf from Berlin’s Freie Universität who will present a talk on the societal impact caused by the war on drugs, as well as Craig Schuftan, presenter of the Culture Club Kino series.
Drugs in Film - A Cinematic Symposium
Reefer Madness (1936)
The Panic in Needle Park (1971)
Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (1981)
Naked Lunch (1991)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Heaven Knows What (2015) - German Premiere