– The festival is embracing the theme of “Body Politics”, challenging conventions as it reveals the canvas of the human body and establishes an inclusive cinema for festival-goers

CPH:DOX focuses on the body as a battleground

Muskelsvindfonden and Pærfekt Gin & Croquis (© Nørrebro Teater)

CPH:DOX‘s 21st edition, scheduled from 13-24 March, adopts the theme of “Body Politics”, delving into topics like fertility, “ableism”, discrimination and trauma. The festival explores the body as a contested space, reflecting contemporary dialogues. Notably, CPH:DOX is debuting an inclusive cinema at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg festival centre, aiming to accommodate guests with disabilities and enhance accessibility.

CPH:DOX annually highlights societal trends through a thematic lens. The 2024 edition focuses on the body, scrutinising our perceptions and societal constructs. The festival questions the normative concept of a “normal body” and assesses whether our societal structures pose challenges for those diverging from this limited definition. The exploration spans both cinematic and theatrical presentations, offering a comprehensive examination of this theme.

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Marie Erbs Ørbæk, programmer and head of live events at CPH:DOX, explains: “The autonomy of the body is constantly being negotiated, and in this era, our understanding of both rights and violations is increasingly linked to lived bodily experiences. This is what we want to explore further with this year’s theme: who decides over the body, how much should it weigh, where should it move, how much can it change, what colour can it have, and why do some bodies face more prejudices than others?”

The festival is showcasing an independent film programme centred on the body. Additionally, three days are dedicated to the Body Politics theme, with films, debates, events and parties on 15 March at the Society Stage in Politiken House, on 19 March at the Science Stage in Stærekassen, and on 22 March at the Art Stage at the National Gallery of Denmark.

In response to societal challenges, CPH:DOX is also introducing SOCIAL:CINEMA, a pop-up cinema at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, emphasising inclusivity for those with mobility impairments. Designed by Aspekt Office and supported by the Bevica Foundation, SOCIAL:CINEMA aligns with universal design principles, featuring scaffold structures and wheelchair-accessible amenities.

Developed collaboratively, this year’s festival theme of Body Politics involves poet and disability activist Caspar Eric. On 16 March, Eric will open SOCIAL:CINEMA with a visual rendition of the manifesto “Sorry, We Are Here”, amplifying the collective voices of individuals with disabilities and their kin, addressing issues of accessibility and equal participation in society.

“Delving into a theme about bodily limitations requires an awareness of our own blind spots. Therefore, it has been crucial for us to develop the theme in collaboration with organisations with the knowledge – and individuals with the experiences – that we do not have ourselves,” comments Marie Erbs Ørbæk.

CPH:DOX launches its Body Politics theme on 27 January at the Politiken Festival, exploring how film representations influence perceptions of normalcy. Journalist Felix Thorsen Katzenelson will moderate a debate where directors Zara Zereny, Mette Carla Albrechtsen, sociologist and researcher Olivia Dahl, and actress Laura Allen Müller (A Bigger Picture) share their insights into how encounters with old bodies, fat bodies, female bodies and disabled bodies can contribute to challenging our notions of what constitutes a healthy and strong body.

The full festival programme, to be unveiled on 21 February, promises diverse discussions challenging conventional ideas of health and strength through encounters with various bodies. Tickets for the 19 March Science Stage opening, featuring a unique event with Muskelsvindfonden and Pærfekt Gin & Croquis, are available here.

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