Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Oberhausen 2024 (International Competition)

O ma

Before then
Directed by: 

Language can be a barrier: We don't know the other person's language or can’t understand what they want to tell us. Language can also be liberating: finally expressing what is on my mind, revealing myself and to share my inner feelings.

But can language be both a barrier and a liberation? Yes, this paradox is possible. Our winning film this year proves it.

By dissolving the traditional categories of speaker and listener, it is also possible to express what cannot be said. A letter in a foreign language becomes a possibility of communication that remains misunderstood, and at the same time the unspeakable is said and no longer hidden. (Photo: © Mengzhu Xue)

The film is about our relationship with the people we love, the people we don't want to let go, and the people we want open up to. But it also shows how the gap between different generations, social systems and places can prevent us from fully understanding each other. It shows us a creative way of dealing with the unspeakable and is a plea for an intense relationship between us and our neighbours.