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Ecumenical Jury awards film prizes at Berlinale 2018

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The 68th Berlinale has ended and we who have cuddled in cinemas for the past 10 days all seem to be sick - exchanging our ailments while coughing and sneezing. We are all sleep-deprived. I found it a disappointing year - and I'm not sure if it was just the state of my head. The Ecumenical Jury in my opinion certainly made wiser choices than the International Jury. Here is my report for Ecumenical News.


The Ecumenical Jury at the 68th Berlinale for the first time in years chose to differ from the main Berlinale jury by giving the gong to a German film In den Gängen/In the Aisles by film director Thomas Stuber.

The feature film had its premiere late in the competition and received raving reviews. It is about the dreary world of a wholesale supermarket in which the taciturn Christian (Franz Rogowski) is trained by an older colleague and falls in love with his colleague Marion (Sandra Hüller).

Awarding the prize the jury said “When life is a supermarket what we need is not found on the …

Change is in the air in South Africa

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Change has been in the air in South Africa and I found myself quite often in the Deutsche Welle studios these days, explaining the changes taking place in my country.






"Images triumph over reality"

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by Anli Serfontein

Berlin  - Church representatives at the traditional Ecumenical Reception during the 68th Berlinale International Film festival on 18 February 2018 dealt with the profound consequences of digitization.

"In the course of digitization, cinema has considerably expanded its possibilities of perfecting the images and creating an immersive experience for the viewer," said the chairman of the Publishers Commission of the German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Dr. Gebhard Fürst (Rottenburg-Stuttgart), said in his greetings at the reception.

“There is no substitute for the shared experience in the magical darkness of the movie theater,” he added. On the other hand, there is a tendency in the "picture industry" for ever more perfectly designed pictures. Through digital editing, the image is increasingly removing itself from reality. "The images triumph over reality," Bishop Fürst said.

The Rev. Johann Hinrich Claussen, the Cultural representat…

Berlin exhibition tells how science bridged faiths

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 A fascinating exhibition and a story I did on it.



by Anli Serfontein

THE extent to which today’s scientific world is still based on intercultural and interreligious scientific discourse and the translated scriptures of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars which date back nearly 1000 years is explored in an exhibition in Berlin.

Devoted to the history of a millennium of en­­­­counter between cultures, the exhibition “Jews, Christians, and Muslims: Scientific Discourse in the Middle Ages 500-1500”, is cur­ated and compiled by Dr Andreas Fingernagel, of the Austrian National Library.

It seeks to show how scientists from the three Abrahamic religions during this period co- operated, influenced each other, initiated a creative process of appropriation through trans­lations, and mutually benefited from inter­cultural dialogue in medicine, astrology, and astro­­­n­­­omy, as well as philosophy, ethics, and mathematics.

“The subject of the encounter between cul­tures has lost n…