2015 is dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust – a subject that is of particular significance for our institution, given that the cinematic engagement with the Holocaust has formed a key concern of our work since the very foundation of our association in 1963, then called the Friends of the German Film Archive. This is still apparent to this day, whether in our cinema program, that of the Berlinale Forum we organize, or in our arsenal distribution portfolio. One of the most prominent events at the 1986 Forum was thus the German premiere of Claude Lanzmann’s SHOAH at the Delphi-Filmpalast, a film that has since formed part of our distribution range. Additional films on the same theme shown at the Forum and subsequently added to our film archive include DIE FEUERPROBE by Erwin Leiser, HA’MAKAH HA’SHMONIM VE’AHAT (The 81st Blow) by David Bergman et al, and Lanzmann’s SOBIBOR, 14 OCTOBRE 1943, 16 HEURES. These special audiovisual documents of their times are in danger of fading into obscurity. On the one hand, the film print stock is under threat from both decay and wear and tear, while the media shift of recent years on the other means that there are fewer and fewer places capable of screening analogue films. In order to ensure this form of cinematic remembrance also remains accessible for coming generations, a selection of around 50 titles from our film collection has been put together, ten of which will be digitalized or, if already available in digital form, acquired for digital projection over the next 10 months. The selection includes both well-known films as well as those that have received less attention or been undeservedly forgotten. A catalogue of all 46 thematically relevant works from our collection is available to present and contextualize the films in question.
From October 1st to November 9th 2015 the project will conclude with the screening of all 10 newly digitally available films accompanied by introductions and discussions with international guests.
Via arsenal distribution, the entire selection of films is available for rental to cinemas.
To mark the start of the project a comprehensive film series including introductions to the films, Q&As, and discussions took place at the Arsenal cinema from January 27 to February 4 2015. The focus was on questions of memory, archives, and public spheres. Beforehand, Christian Pischel’s FU seminar at the Department of Film Studies presented a selection of eight films in cooperation with the project. Two films from the programme will be presented as part of this year's Berlinale Forum programme: HA'MAKAH HA'SHMONIM VE'AHAT (THE 81ST BLOW) by David Bergman, Haim Gouri, Jacques Ehrlich, Miriam Novitch and Zvi Shner (Israel 1977) as well as ME'KIVUN HA'YAAR (OUT OF THE FOREST) by Limor Pinhasov Ben Yosef and Yaron Kaftoroi Ben Yosef (Israel 2003). Both films had received their German premieres as part of the Forum.
"Asynchronous. Documentaries and Experimental Films on the Holocaust. From the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art e.V. Collection" is funded by the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin.