july 2017, arsenal cinema

Creative Visions – Hong Kong Cinema 1997–2017

Made in Hong Kong – a label that refers to films that work in a field rich with (film) history and resonance, mining the points where action and auteur cinema, the power of innovation and genre, wild rawness and technical perfection are renegotiated again and again. On the 20th anniversary of the handover of the former British crown colony to China, the ten films from the last two decades that make up "Creative Visions" provide an opportunity for audiences to grasp the hugely varied approaches employed by Hong Kong cinema and enjoy its full versatility, complexity, and dynamism. The program presents works both by major internationally renowned directors as well as promising debut films and forges a path between thrillers, melodramas, action films, sports dramas, and triad shootouts – all of them equally snapshots of a city and its inhabitants gripped by changing times and shifting social and political circumstances.

july 2017, arsenal cinema

A Tribute to Valeska Gert

Dancer, actress, cabaret star, bar owner, and book author Valeska Gert (1892–1978) was "one of the most influential artists of the modern era" (Wolfgang Müller), whose interdisciplinary grasp of art and disdain for standard boundaries were way of ahead of their time. Valeska Gert celebrated her biggest successes in the Berlin of the Weimer Republic. By creating a blend of dance, pantomime, and acting which she referred to as "grotesque dance", she produced what Kurt Tucholsky described as "likely the most impudent of things ever to be done on stage". She danced such themes as "baby", "death", "political assembly", "nervousness" and the everyday professional life of a prostitute in "Canaille": "As I didn't love the citizen, I danced the roles of those he felt contempt for, the whores, the procuresses, those on the slide, those at the bottom." ("Mein Weg", 1931). Her anti-bourgeois lack of inhibition and the wildness of the musical dance numbers she performed polarized audiences and took Valeska Gert all the way to the big international stages. As a Jewish avant-garde artist, she became unable to perform on stage after the National Socialists came to power and emigrated to the US in 1939, where she created a meeting point for New York bohemians in the form of the "Beggar Bar". After returning to Berlin in 1949, her cabaret bar "Hexenküche" was unable to replicate her previous successes and she withdraw to the island of Sylt in the 1950s, where she ran the "Ziegenstall" bar until her death.

We are showing a selection of the films Valeska Gert appeared in between 1925 and 1976. Although she usually only appeared in supporting roles, her expressive appearances, in which she always conveys an image of the independent woman, left a profound impression on the films.