Whether Powell & Pressburger, the Maysles Brothers, Boris Kaufman & Jean Vigo, creative partnerships have made themselves felt again and again in the Arsenal program over the last few months. We are now taking up this tendency for this month's Magical History Tour by presenting a series of films which place filmmaking and acting duos alongside the more classic directing/scriptwriting and directing/acting teams. The focus is on each of these shared creative processes, collaborations that often evolve over years and decades, creating a characteristic body of film work that carries the hallmark of both individuals.
STAGECOACH (John Ford, USA 1939, May 1 & 4) The cornerstone for two creative partnerships at once: John Ford & John Wayne, who became a star thanks to this film and as a result ended up shooting more than a dozen films with Ford. And Ford & Monument Valley, that emblematic tract of American land with its bizarre rock formations which became Ford's favorite location. The Western meets the road movie: a group of travelers thrown together, the characteristic compendium in the history of the Western, crosses dangerous Indian territory in a stagecoach.
DER BLAUE ENGEL (The Blue Angel, Josef von Sternberg, Germany 1930, May 2 & 6) Marlene Dietrich plays the cheerfully untroubled, somewhat bawdy Lola-Lola in her first film under the direction of Josef von Sternberg, before he modeled her into an ethereal, mysterious vamp in the joint productions that followed. Lola-Lola is the star of a cabaret club strayed into by the authoritarian Professor Rath in order to discipline the students he believes to be there. When Rath also falls for Lola's charms however, the tragedy then takes its course.
GINGER E FRED (Ginger and Fred, Federico Fellini, Italy/ France/ West Germany 1985, May 3 & 5) From the 50s onwards, recently deceased writer, poet and screenwriter Tonino Guerra worked with a wide range of different directors, such as Antonioni, Wenders, Angelopoulos, and Tarkovsky. He formed a special team with Fellini, for whom he wrote numerous scripts. GINGER E FRED combines a biting satire on the soulless and rash nature of Italian television with an ironically wistful reflection on aging. Giulietta Masina and Marcello Mastroianni as aging dancers show their reverence for one of the greatest couples in film history: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
ALEKSANDR NEWSKIJ (Alexander Nevsky, Sergei M. Eisenstein, USSR 1938, May 8 & 11) This epic about the titular national hero, who repelled the Teutonic Knights in the 13th Century, was the eighth film to be made as part of the lifelong artistic partnership between Eisenstein and cameraman Eduard Tissé. According to Eisenstein, the two of them were connected by a "synchronicity in sight, feeling and experience." The two of them also found an ally for their work on ALEKSANDR NEWSKIJ in the form of composer Prokofiev so that their idea of the unity of image and sound/music might be put into practice.
BANSHUN (Late Spring, Ozu Yasujiro, Japan 1949 | May 9 & 12) "Ozu's quiet muse" – despite numerous roles in films by Naruse or Kurosawa, Hara Setsuko will always be chiefly remembered as an Ozu actress – and vice versa. Her fine, nuanced acting and the characteristic reserve she used in portraying moments of great emotional turmoil form an essential part of Ozu’s oeuvre. In BANSHUN, she plays the daughter of a widowed professor who pretends he wants to get married to allow his daughter to extricate herself from him.
CYCLING THE FRAME (Cynthia Beatt, West Germany 1989) und THE INVISIBLE FRAME (Cynthia Beatt, Germany 2009, May 13 & 17) Two films that form a pair. Both were made as a collaboration between director Cynthia Beatt and actress Tilda Swinton. Both are bicycle adventure trips: one of them along the Wall (1988) and 20 years later along the often no longer visible "seam" that used to run between the former East and West Berlin. Two singular works which together become a reflection on Berlin's border landscapes, the relationship between the internal and the external and the visible in the invisible.
DER GANG IN DIE NACHT (F. W. Murnau, Germany 1921, May 18 & 26, piano accompaniment by Eunice Martins) Screenwriter Carl Mayer and F. W. Murnau, who shot seven films together in the 1920s, form one of the most famous working teams of Weimer cinema. DER GANG IN DIE NACHT, the tragic love triangle between an optometrist, his lover and a painter was described by Willy Haas in the following manner: "Where does the art of the writer stop here and that of the director begin? It's unclear. Everything has grown together, everything melts into one. Everything is, there’s no other way of putting it, complete."
KLASSENVERHÄLTNISSE (Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub, West Germany / France 1983, May 19 & 25) Over four decades, radical filmmakers Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub have shot over 30 films together, all of which are based on literary or musical sources and openly exhibit the cinematic interpretational work undertaken by these two "adapters". This is particularly true for their Kafka adaptation KLASSENVERHÄLTNISSE. The events in the life of the young Karl, abandoned by his family in America, are staged in clear, penetrating images.
DARK PASSAGE (Delmer Daves, USA 1947, May 27 & 28) A couple both on and off screen: Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, whose films together all belong to the film noir genre. In DARK PASSAGE, Bogart plays an innocent convict who takes his rehabilitation into his own hands, only held up by a face operation (his face can only be seen after 30 minutes) and the young Lauren Bacall.
Foxy Brown Jack Hill USA 1974
With Pam Grier 35 mm OV/GeS 91 min
Au hasard Balthazar Robert Bresson France/Sweden 1965
35 mm OV/EnS 95 min
Jackie Brown Quentin Tarantino USA 1997
With Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro
35 mm OV/GeS 154 min