We're very pleased to announce that most of Ulrike Ottinger's films are now available in digital format (DCP and/or Blu-ray.)
"With her films, Ulrike Ottinger has re-invented the theatrical and ethno-poetic capturing and description of the Other in film and in a playful manner literally quashed the difference between European and non-European cultures, as well as between feature and ethnographic cinema. [...] Her work is captivating in the beautiful way it combines seriousness and cheerfulness, rigor and poetry, epos and lightness, myth and history, and tradition and modernity." (Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs)
We are very glad to welcome into arsenal distribution’s range HÉLIO OITICICA (Brazil, 2012) which won both this year’s Caligari Film Prize and the FIPRESCI Award, as well as ART/VIOLENCE (Palestinian Territories/USA, 2013), the winner of the Cinema fairbindet development award. Both films will be released in autumn. From this year’s Forum and Forum Expanded program – shown recently in the scope of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival – the following films are already available via arsenal distribution: LUNCH WITH GERTRUDE STEIN (Isabelle Prim, France 2012), ONCE EVERY DAY (Richard Foreman, USA 2012), ROTATION (Ginan Seidl, Clara Wieck, Germany 2012), NOT BLACKING OUT JUST TURNING THE LIGHTS OFF (James Richards, United Kingdom 2012) and BÜHNE (Daniel Kötter, Germany 2012).
Düsseldorf, beginning of the seventies. Hans, a young, introverted student of Beuys, meets Ruth, a young homeless woman living in a park. Fascinated by her, he takes Ruth in and makes her the subject of his video work. Ruth quickly settles into the artist scene around Hans, she gets a job as a drawing model at the academy. But Hans is skeptical about her new life, he suspects that Ruth, in her transformation to ‘glamour girl,’ is only trying to get away from herself. For him, she remains the baffling homeless girl that he had secretly fallen in love with, a subject that he doesn’t want to share with anyone. Jealous of his best friend Philipp, he locks Ruth up in his studio so he can – so he thinks – look into her secrets in the test tube of art. Art and life become inextricably intertwined.
Congratulations: "Tepenin ardı" wins the Best Feature Film award at the sixth Asia Pacific Screen Awards, the region’s highest accolade in film!
On a summer’s day retired forester Faik is receiving visitors at his country home. His son Nusret has come to visit with Faik’s two grandsons Caner and Zafer. Despite the summer setting however, the mood remains oddly muted. Faik is having problems with the local nomads and is constantly on his guard, while Zafer has been suffering mental problems since his military service. This small group is completed by the family of Mehmet and Meryem and brings together different temperaments and social classes. But conflicts are avoided: it’s all someone else’s fault, that of the nomads, who remain an invisible foe.
Three couples in crisis each seek advice at therapy sessions and argue over infidelities, abortion and separate bedrooms. Accusations, fears and traumas all come up, with separation very much on the cards. These case studies reveal areas of conflict, structures and relationship patterns all of a universal nature. A film that portrays the efforts needed to preserve love and relationships as a work in progress. A set-up whereby therapy sessions are held in the sober atmosphere of a studio. The problems being negotiated are standard ones. The clients are played by actors, the therapists work in the field in real life and are not playing a role. These sessions are supplemented by scenes staged with minimal decor from the everyday lives of the various couples in line with the epic theatre tradition as well as workshop discussions in which the therapists relate their practices to the film team. Documentary elements and improvised acting are combined in distinctive fashion, creating a variation on the documentary which works with abstraction and fiction and is unconcerned with authenticity. Resembling nothing so much as a public experiment, this artificial set-up yields touching moments full of emotion.
The little village of Doel stands in the way of the expanding port of Antwerp. The demolition permit has been granted – the past must make way for the future. Emilienne, a sprightly old lady, sees things differently. She doesn’t want to move – she’s far too happy in her house with its wild garden. But the expansion work is progressing and Doel already seems almost like a ghost town. Only the oldest inhabitants, including Emilienne’s friend Colette and the elderly village rector, remain, holding out tenaciously in the face of their shared fate. When the rector dies and Colette appears to give up, Emilienne is left behind all alone.
We are happy to present Wendelien Van Oldenborgh's new film BETE & DEISE (The Netherlands / Brazil, 2012), which has been added to our distribution range. The film shows the encounter between two women in Rio de Janeiro, who each give the public a voice in their own individual way. Bete Mendes is a veteran telenovela actress and political activist, Deise Tigrona one of the key voices of baile funk, whose song "Injeção" formed the starting point for M.I.A.'s song "Bucky Done Gun". The film came about while Van Oldenborgh was carrying out research on Brazilian cinema and examining the use of gestures in public space as an expression of social conditions. The German premiere screening on August 16 will be attended by the filmmaker.
Film festivals have two main functions: discovering new films and providing an opportunity for filmmakers, curators, critics and audiences to get together to debate the discoveries in question. The "Arab Shorts" festival took place from 2009-2011, organized by the Goethe Institute Cairo and headed by artistic director Marcel Schwierin, and successfully showed both the ongoing significance of these two tenets and the fact they should still not be taken for granted. Curators from Arab countries were invited to present short film programs in Cairo. A wealth of independent works from the Arab world was presented, which had seldom been seen in such compact form.
We were convinced that the "Arab Shorts" should be seen and discussed beyond the festival in Cairo and thus selected several curated programs and individual works. In collaboration with the Goethe Institute Cairo and thanks to their generous support, we were thus able to add a total of 61 works to our distribution range.
The results of our endeavors are now being presented in Arsenal cinema from July 2-5: three evenings each made up of two curated programs before a final "Long Night of Arab Shorts", which will consists of a more than four-hour program of individual works. Members of the audience, curators and filmmakers are invited to eat, drink and exchange ideas and opinions in the foyer during the breaks. We are particularly glad that curators Ala Younis, currently a Living Archive fellow, Yazan Khalili and Maha Maamoun and filmmakers and artists Monira Al Qadiri, Firas Taybeh, Ammar Bouras and Solmaz Shahbazi will be attending the event. Afterwards, the Arab Shorts will be going on tour and will be available for distribution.
We are very happy that the majority of works from this year's Forum Expanded can now be booked via our catalogue: KING LOST HIS TOOTH and T.S.T.L (Libanon 2012) by Gheit Al-Amine, AS THEY SAY (Hicham Ayouch, Morocco, United Arab Emirates 2011) FALGOOSH / BLAMES AND FLAMES (Mohammadreza Farzad, Iran 2011), THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING CLASS IN ENGLAND – LITTLE IRLAND. 1842/ 2011 (Rainer Ganahl, Austria, Great Britain, USA 2011), BYE BYE (Paul Geday, Egypt, The Netherlands 2012), MY FATHER IS STILL A COMMUNIST, INTIMATE SECRETS TO BE PUBLISHED (Ahmed Ghossein, Libanon 2011), O.G.B.I.P. [ Our Global Behaviour Is Psychopathic II ] (Virlani Hallberg & Jennifer Rainsford, Sweden 2011), RIVERRED (Eva Heldmann, Germany 2011), TROLLSLÄNDOR MED FAGLAR OCH ORM / DRAGONFLIES WITH BIRDS AND SNAKES (Wolfgang Lehmann, Sweden, Germany 2011), LA ROUGE ET LA NOIRE (Isabelle Prim, France 2011), PERIL OF THE ANTILLES (Fern Silva, USA, Haiti 2011), FATHER, MOTHER, WHAT SHOULD I FILM TODAY? (Isabell Spengler, Germany 2011) as well as installative works like BAROMETER (I) (Heike Baranowsky, Germany 2011), A TALE OF TWO ISLANDS (Paola Calvo & Steffen Köhn, Germany 2011), A WORLD OF OUR OWN (Eline McGeorge, Norway, Great Britain 2011), SEEKING THE MONKEY KING (Ken Jacobs, USA 2011) and VENUS MISSION (Anne Quirynen, Belgium, Germany 2012).
In 2009, Arsenal and Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) presented "LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in a Rented World", which was curated by Susanne Sachsse, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus and Marc Siegel. Featuring 50 international artists and academics, the event was dedicated to the underground pio-neer and queer icon Jack Smith (1932–89). The superstar Mario Montez, who had stood on stage once again for LIVE FILM, and the participating director Ulrike Ottinger received an honorary Teddy award at the Berlinale. And now there's more big news. On the initiative of Jerry Tartaglia and thanks to the passion and drive of many, the Barbara Gladstone Gallery’s Jack Smith Archive is making brand new 16-mm prints available for distribution. Right on time for Camp / Anti-Camp we will be able to present them to the public on April 13 and hope they will grace many screens in future.
SOLAR SYSTEM is a film about disappearance. It is a portrait of daily life in the indigenous community of the Kollas in Tinkunaku in the mountains of northern Argentina. It tells the story of Ramona and Viviano in the valley of Blanquito and at high altitude in Santa Cruz, of the deaf Fortunato and of Louis’ family, of Soto the shepherd, and of Cecilia and Bernardo whose tractor turned over, of Guido the child who carves men out of clay, of God, of the carnival which everybody celebrates, and of the flowing of the waters. The film shows a meeting without knowing the language of the other, a story of getting to know and seeing each other without words. Non-verbally, exclusively through images the film approaches the people of a small indigenous Kolla community. We accompany the seasonal tramp of Viviano and Ramona from the valley up to the village of Santa Cruz, 3000 meters above sea level, where they spend the summertime until the autumn rain makes them go back to Rio Blanquito. Living with the Kollas, inbetween the old rites and the irruptive modernity, in the grandiose landscape of Yunga and Quechua, the film narrates the day-to-day disappearence of an indigenous people. Dies irae. (Thomas Heise)
Thirteen experimental films from this year’s Forum Expanded program are now available from arsenal distribution: BLIND by Annika Larsson (Germany/Sweden 2010, 20’), CARRYING PICTURES by Tom Holert (Germany 2010, 10’), CARRYING PICTURES by Tom Holert (Germany, 2010, 10’), CET HOMME (This Man, Germany 2011) by Markus Ruff, DAS SCHLAFENDE MÄDCHEN (The Sleeping Girl) by Rainer Kirberg (Germany 2010, 114’), FÜHRUNG (Guided Tour, Germany 2010, 37’) by René Frölke, INTO THIN AIR by Mohammadreza Farzad (Iran 2010, 26’), MINOR by Patty Chang (USA 2010, 25’), NATIONAL MOTIVES by Raphaël Grisey (France/Hungary 2010, 28’), PARALLEL WORLDS by Harald Thys and Jos de Gruyter (Belgium 2010, 26’), PAROLE À LA FEMME by Eléonore de Montesquiou (Estonia 2010, 8’), PIGS by Pawel Wojtasik (US 2007-2010, 7’), THE STORY OF MILK & HONEY by Basma Alshrif (Lebanon 2010, 10’) and SURFACE NOISE by Tim Blue, David Phillips und Paul Rowley (Germany 2010, 7’).
From Oct. 28th through Nov. 11th 2009, the Arsenal presented "LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in a Rented World", our first major cooperation with the HAU/Hebbel am Ufer theater. The festival was curated by Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Marc Siegel and Susanne Sachsse, and invited over 50 international artists and scholars to attend in order to pay homage to pioneering American underground artist and queer icon Jack Smith. The performances, films and videos, slide shows, exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and discussions held during the festival did not just provide a variety of perspectives on the gender and genre bending work of Smith, Andy Warhol and their fellow 60's avant-gardists, but also placed Smith's work within the context of a wide-ranging group of contemporary artists.
The works commissioned by Arsenal for the festival are now all available through arsenal distribution.