Film: HD, 16:9, colour, Dolby 5.1/stereo, 30', 2018

Installation: 4-channel video / 6-channel audio installation, 2017

Director/ Producer/ Script: Adnan Softić
Camera: Helena Wittmann, Adnan Softić
Edit: Nina Softić
Music: Daniel Dominguez Teruel, Adnan Softić
Sound design: Daniel Dominguez Teruel
Singers: Alexey Liosha Kokhanov, Pauline Jacob Supported by: Villa Massimo Rome, Neue Kunst in Hamburg

Short description:
BIGGER THAN LIFE is a music film in four acts. The focus is on the fabrication of national history through architecture and urban planning. »Skopje 2014« is the name of the monumental construction plan of the Macedonian government, which wants to stage its capital as the cradle of ancient high civilization and as the origin of Europe. Would that be something new? Will we buy that (hi)story?

„An idiotic urbanization project in Skopje is portrayed by means of a megalomaniac opera - and led even more ad absurdum than it appears to be in reality. (...) The film deals with urban failure in its own way (...). Corresponding to the subject it uses a formal concept which allows us to look at this failure from a new angle. In the case of Skopje - at least after watching Bigger Than Life - there is hardly any other cinematic form imaginable that could do them justice: the efforts to give the city a look of colossal antique significance at the expense of the population, aiming for a boost in touristic growth.“ (Dominic Schmid, Filmbulletin)

„I‘ve hardly seen any bad films in the ‚German Competition‘. However, one stands out: „Bigger than Life“ by Adnan Softić. The artist approaches the monstrous plan of retrospectively giving Skopje historical depth by erecting absurdly monumental buildings in a very unconventional and essayistic quasi-documentary way: from Paestum to Winckelmann, as well as symphonically complex, musically. (...) Softić comes up with a lot - and nothing. The madness drives the film itself a little crazy. When speaking is no longer enough, you have to sing. That does not really help either, or only insofar as it is possible to pick up the vocals that make you speechless.“ (Ekkehard Knörer, Cargo)

„‘Skopje 2014‘ raises monumental buildings as well as national pride against the depression and the oblivion of the forefathers. In ‚Bigger Than Life‘ Adnan Softić describes in four acts, exquisitely ironically sung, how the Macedonian government stages its capital as Europe‘s cradle of culture. It includes the being ashamed of the nationalistic megalomania made from concrete kitsch that the commentator describes as she is overwhelmed with the new view outside her kitchen window. Is it Disneyland or a dangerous rewriting of Macedonian history? Neo-classical buildings were mounted from scratch to squeeze love of the homeland into the hearts of the inhabitants who wander around lost in the concrete desert.“ (Kathrin Häger, Filmdienst)

„The most surprising films were two short, half-hour essays which celebrated the fun of working with documentary material through an impetuous use of music. (...) In Bigger Than Life, Adnan Softic instigates a series of discourses on the beauty of Skopje and the hope of it sinking soon. He deduces everything from Greece, he shakes the camera as a sign of a badly imitated earthquake. Why not? Many other works seemed very well-behaved and rather exerted in comparison...“ (Frédéric Jaeger on Duisburger Filmwoche 2018,

„We are particularly thinking of this strange work that is the winner of the Grand Prix, Bigger Than Life by Adnan Softic.This experimental documentary depicts how the Republic of Macedonia used the extension project of its capital (Skopje 2014) to rewrite the history of the country, and to make the city the cradle of Europe and one of its most prestigious ancient civilizations. The film opens with a prologue of about 6 minutes that shows a Roman temple on which the sun rises in a fixed shot. A voice from the off dramatically, by making each syllable last, declaims a quote from Johann Joachim Winkelmann, who is considered a theorist of neoclassicism and the founder of the history of art. In essence this quote says that if one wants to become great, in one word inimitable, one must imitate the Greeks.
The rest of the film is equally suprising, with its grandiloquent music and songs, its kitschy effects and its ironic voice-over, clinging to views of the new Skopje, to humorously decipher the process of creating a new national identity. It is not only rare to see such a film win a major international competition, but even rarer that it was not returned to a purely experimental competition. It must be recognized that Bigger than Life is not afraid to play with the nerves of the viewer, while accompanying the political scope of its remarks with a supported formal research that highlights the absurdity of what it denounces. As the sights of bloated monuments follow one another, one laughs loudly when one hears the singer saying with a stiff voice that Skopje is real. All against a background of spectacle with fireworks.“ (Ecran Noir)

BIGGER THAN LIFE at 12×12. Der IBB-Videoraum in der Berlinischen Galerie,
︎︎︎ Handout 

 BIGGER THAN LIFE at Duisburger Filmwoche, 2018
︎︎︎ Protokolle