It's hard to find another French filmmaker of such standing as Philippe Garrel who still remains a more or less blank slate in Germany. Although he’s regarded as a key figure in post-Nouvelle Vague cinema, his 30-film oeuvre is largely unknown in this country. With the exception of L'OMBRE DES FEMMES (In the Shadow of Women, France/Switzerland 2015), not a single one of his films has received a standard German theatrical release over the last couple of decades. Arsenal is dedicating a comprehensive retrospective to Philippe Garrel in October, which will enable Berlin audiences to grasp the different phases of his over 50-year career and get to the very heart of his concerns by looking at his entire oeuvre for the very first time. For the opening on October 1, we are presenting Garrel's penultimate film LA JALOUSIE (France 2013) as a German premiere. Introductions by Birgit Kohler, Thomas Arslan, Volker Pantenburg, Marc Siegel, Angela Schanelec, and Anja Streiter complement the program.
Although Peter Weiss is primarily known as a writer and playwright, he began his artistic career as a painter. After he immigrated to Sweden, it was his feeling of being foreign, his insecurity, and existential distress in exile that governed his exhausting search for new forms of expression. In the 50s, Weiss finally turned his attention to the moving image. He shot a total of 18 experimental, documentary, and fiction films, of which four fragments remain, before he made his long hoped-for literary breakthrough with the short novel The Shadow of the Body of the Coachman. Weiss’s film work marked the transition from an interior view marked by surrealism to an engagement with social reality in the divided world of the Cold War. In his documentaries, a detailed view on people and places emerges, while the meticulous treatment of facts and life stories that would later play such a major role in The Aesthetics of Resistance is also alluded to. Weiss doesn’t create a closed image of history, but rather the actions of his figures are pervaded by individual standpoints and contradictions. Peter Weiss's thoughts on oppositions, "eaten away by the disease of doubt, the difficulty of deciding for one thing, back and forth, fluctuations with work, in the past painting-writing, theatre-film, Swedish language-German language", as he puts it in his notebooks, carry an important productive power in his art. Before this backdrop, this film series, which already began in September, is dedicated to the relationship between aesthetic and political subjectivity in relationship to resistance and social change. The compilation of historical and contemporary films from across the world and short film programs brings several of Weiss's recurring themes up to date – from the eternal exploitation of human work and the power of capital via the battle against repression and inequality, racism and fascism, all the way to the horror of war and the question of violence as a means of revolutionary politics.
Are special effects — or their digital counterpart, visual effects — a marginal field in cinematographic art, things pulled from bags of tricks belonging to tinkerers, firework-makers and computer freaks? Or do they mark the zenith of artistic-creative imagination? Do they generate illusions that continuously strive for perfection, the most artificial constructions in a world already artificial in itself: cinema? A look back to the beginnings of cinema makes it clear that the history of film is also the history of the technological manipulation of images. Almost ninety years after Méliès' first "magical" films and after numerous innovations in the field of special effects, this branch of cinema has also experienced a digital revolution. The possibilities offered by so-called computer generated images (or CGIs for short) appear boundless when it comes to translating imagination and fantasy into moving pictures. Yet computers and their "analogue" predecessors not only generate past or future worlds and their inhabitants, but also complex visualizations of emotional, perceptive and mental worlds, which forms the focus of this month's Magical History Tour.