The early sound film era was a time of exceptional freedom and openness towards societal realities in Hollywood history. In July 1934, it came to an abrupt end with the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code (Hays Code) that had been adopted in 1930 but had been largely ignored by the studios. In fact, many pre-code films did the exact opposite of what the guidelines recommended. They focused largely on sexuality, freer forms of relationship, prohibition, crime and urban worlds featuring stage shows and "gold-diggers". They were about daily life in an America mired in depression, a lack of hope and crime; about drinking alcohol and about emancipated women and masters of survival. Moreover, they were told in an insolent, unembellished tone that eschewed respect, recording and incorporating the rhythms of the big city with their dynamic montage, flippant dialogue, precipitated action and elliptic narration. Thanks to the support of the Capital Cultural Fund in Berlin we are dedicating an extensive program comprising 30 films to this extraordinary era of US cinema from 19th June to 31st July.
Rebellious, ill-adjusted and cool – the attitude harbored by certain members of the younger generation in the US and other countries, including West Germany during the Adenauer era, clashed with a society that remained authoritarian some 10 years after the end of the war. A German term that dates back to the turn of the 20th century was used to label Germany's rebellious youths and later became the title of a film - DIE HALBSTARKEN (Teenage Wolfpack, Georg Tressler, BRD 1956). For some, the term was a snide insult; for others it was a compliment. Whether in Germany or in the US, the deviant youths indulged in criminal activity, created a disturbance and protested against traditional values. They were cool and into rock 'n' roll and motorbikes. This month's Magical History Tour is dedicated to American and German teenage rebel classics as well as film representations of similarly-minded young rebels from earlier days, or different social and geographical contexts.
Living Archive continues to receive support from the Goethe-Institut in the form of a grant program. We are looking forward to welcoming four new guest participants in July and August. We start off by receiving Jaqueline Beltrame and Gustavo Spolidoro from Brazil, who co-founded the Festival Cine Esquema Novo in Porto Alegre in 2003. The festival is aimed at following tendencies in contemporary image production and is thus to open to film screenings, installation work as well as new forms of audiovisual production, an agenda that fills a gap in the Brazilian cultural landscape. For this year's Cine Esquema Novo program in November, they will be heading into the Arsenal archive to see what they can find. On July 25, they will be providing insights into their festival work and presenting a selection of their research work together short films by Gustavo Spolidoro at Arsenal cinema.
Lara Khaldi und Yazan Khalili (Forum Expanded 2012) come to Berlin via the Goethe-Institut in Ramallah. On August 19, they present their new lecture performance as a work in progress. They are researching films in the Arsenal archive to this end which link to the futuristic scenario of "Love Letters to Mars": a 2026 Mars mission creates an irreparable rift between two lovers regarding the question of whether the Earth should be saved or new societies and colonies founded on other planets.
The exact program for both events will be announced shortly beforehand.
The sixth Arsenal Summer School will be held from August 21–23, 2014. It will concentrate on Arsenal's important relation to its own archive, drawing from the ongoing project Visionary Archive. Under the title "REANIMATION & REENACTMENT. Forms of Cinematic Reencounter", it will focus on the specific forms of re-seeing by which the past becomes present in the cinema.
As a central component of this Summer School, participants will come together to watch films from the Arsenal archive. The selection of films focuses on the diverse forms of re-stagings, re-enactments, and the encounter with spaces where the past lives on, transparently or covertly. Particular attention will be given to films from anti-colonialist, non-European cinema and the history of resistance remembered in them. In this constellation, the view to the archive falls on films that themselves act as an archive. They assemble and conserve images, sounds, and viewpoints, they fill in some of the gaps in knowledge and open up others. They allow us to get a view to cinema that faces up to history, collectively experienced, but remembered with contradictions.
The collective visualization of these different techniques of film memory in the Summer School is not meant as an innocuous, distanced view from the outside. Rather, we will make use of the possibilities of reencountering that are inherent in each film, in which there is always something of the past involved in a possible future.
The number of participants is limited. Please register by July 30, 2014.
From June 28 to September 7 Kunstverein Hamburg and Arsenal are presenting the exhibition "A Paradise Built in Hell". The title is borrowed from a book by Rebecca Solnit. A compilation of 16mm films by Hannes Böck, Heinz Emigholz, Sharon Lockhart, Marie Losier, Jennifer Reeves, Ben Rivers, Ben Russell, Clemens von Wedemeyer and many more develops a kaleidoscope of possibilities and utopia. Opening: June 27, 7pm at Kunstverein Hamburg with Anthony McCall’s classic LINE DESCRIBING A CONE (1973). The detailed program will be announced shortly.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Rouben Mamoulian
USA 1932 With Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins
35 mm OV 98 min
From the collection of George Eastman House
Sans toit ni loi Vagabond
Agnès Varda France 1985
35 mm OV/EnS 105 min
Island of Lost Souls Erle C. Kenton USA 1932
With Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi
HDCAM 71 min OV