Occupying one floor of Witte de With’s galleries, this curated film cycle presents moral tales as told by artists and film-makers through the medium of the moving image. As a deliberate curatorial decision, no hierarchical distinction is made between video, DVD, 35 or 16mm film, between artists’ videos or major Hollywood productions. The films presented range from mainstream to art-house movies, from technically complex works with elaborate scripts and settings to hand-held, homemade films. Grouped thematically into 12-hour long categories, this program examines a range of moral issues through the lens of artists and film-makers, creating a kaleidoscope of over 100 hours of film, open 24 hours a day for a period of four days.

Film program themes

Thursday 4 February 00:00-11:59

From flaneur to outlaw
Presenting a range of characters on the margins of society, these films focus on people who deliberately abdicate themselves from moral responsibility, as a liberation, escaping the repressive framework of moral norms, and as an act of rebellion or defiance.

Thursday 4 February 12:00-23:59

The all-seeing eye
Looking at questions of surveillance, visibility, safety and voyeurism, these films also explore the power and the role of the Media in shaping our attitudes to morality. They also refer to film itself as a medium, and ultimately to the moral role of the artist and film-maker.

Friday 5 February 00:00-11:59

Saints, sinners & disbelievers
The major religions of our time prescribe a morality governed by an objective set of rules. These films tell the stories of moments of doubt, of battles against the inflexibility of religious moral codes, revealing instead the subjective and individual side to morality.

Friday 5 February 12:00-23:59

The burden of history
History is usually written by the winners, which can lead to an over-simplification of moral choices and positions. Without lapsing into apologist or revisionist sentiments, the films in this section explore the moral complexity of the past, and the way that it is represented today.

Saturday 6 February 00:00-11:59

Happy families
Exploring morality within closely-knit social groups – whether an actual family, the student body of a school, or a group of dancers – the films in this category look at the conflicting moral codes between children and adults, and the moment at which they overlap: adolescence.

Saturday 6 February 12:00-23:59

With great power comes great responsibility
Spiderman’s words echo far beyond the realm of the superhero, bringing together this selection of films that depict heroes, warriors, kings and princes, but also ‘normal’ people thrust into positions of power, or those who hold sway behind the scenes.

Sunday 7 February 00:00-11:59

Pushing the boundaries of the ‘acceptable’, artists and filmmakers have often tackled the taboos of their time. The films in this category include the politically incorrect, the sexually explicit, the graphically violent, trespassing the boundaries of taste and representation.

Sunday 7 February 12:00-23:59

Moral citizen, critical individual
Taking a cue from Kant, this category brings together films whose main protagonists take a stand against the status quo: from whistleblowers to informers, political crusaders to tricksters.

Workshop & additional screening

9-11 Feb Artist Deborah Stratman leads a workshop in 16mm handmade films, titled The Moral Lens, hosted by WORM.filmwerkplaats. Email Esther Urlus at [email protected].
10 Feb, 9 p.m.: Screening of Stratman’s films at WORM (Achterhaven 148, Rotterdam, www.wormweb.nl).
Also see The Moral Lens


Morality is generously supported by SNS REAAL Fonds. The film program and workshop are supported by WORM.filmwerkplaats and Cultvideotheek Next Page.