Kathryn Bigelow has held her ground in the male-dominated arena of Hollywood action film for 30 years now, creating her own individual take on genre cinema.
In 2010, she became the first woman ever to win the Best Director Oscar for her extraordinary film THE HURT LOCKER.
Outsiders and groups in which allegiance has to be pledged play central roles in Bigelow's films. The bomb disposal experts in THE HURT LOCKER, just like the CIA agent in ZERO DARK THIRTY and the police officer in BLUE STEEL, all act alone - without back up or a safety net. Substitute families and sub-cultures competing against a common exterior enemy are found amid the vampires in NEAR DARK and in the surfer clique in POINT BREAK. Bigelow's films tend to be set in typically male environments; yet her often androgynous female figures never take on the role of the passive subject, but define themselves as characters in their own right. Bigelow’s relationship with Hollywood lies in the tense area between affirmation and self-reflexive deconstruction. Her masterly grasp of the conventions and codes of Hollywood cinema allow her to subvert them over and over again. She not only stretches the boundaries of Hollywood with regard to form, but also in terms of how gender is depicted, as well as with her enjoyment of playing with genre.
In March, Arsenal is showing all nine features by Kathryn Bigelow, as well as her acting debut BORN IN FLAMES.
Peter Liechti (*1951) is a solitary figure in Swiss cinema– a radical eccentric and a true independent spirit, someone whose work combines a blatant disregard for limits and a joy for experimentation. Over the past 30 years, he has worked on around 20 films as a director, scriptwriter, cameraman and producer, which move between documentary, essay film, experimental cinema, art, music and fiction in terms of form and cannot be reduced to a common denominator. However, all his films – the early Super 8 experiments, numerous projects with the performance artist Roman Signer, his music and travel films and autobiographical works – bear testimony to the fact that for his cinematic poetry the other arts and their techniques are of fundamental importance: Contemporary music and jazz, visual art, as well as literature, poetry, texts, language. His film essays emerge in the space between multilayered images, the spoken and written word, as well as music and sound – which are all elements on an equal footing. Liechti's narrative approach is always personal, his view is one that does not presume to understand the world from the outset and take it for granted. Opinion and reflection go hand-in-hand, as do seriousness and humor, irony and empathy, critical self-questioning and sarcastic Swiss local history and geography. Liechti's interest in experimenting, his questioning of familiar patterns and his constant search for new forms of expression have created a great abundance of form in filmic narration.
From March 14 - 31, Arsenal is presenting a comprehensive retrospective of Liechti’s multifarious œuvre, taking in seven feature-length and six shorter films from 1985 to 2013, which include both internationally celebrated works, as well as some less well-known titles yet to be discovered here in Germany. We are particularly pleased that Peter Liechti will attend the opening weekend in person and will take part in Q&A sessions with the audience.
"Placing the camera means to have already taken a position on the cause," says a text in which Zurich-based video activists reflect upon the camera as a weapon and the conditions of their own production of images. It supplied the title for an ongoing program that has been running since 2010 "Der Standpunkt der Aufname – Point of View" in which filmmakers and video artists reflect on the politics of their work today. A book has now been published by Archive Books in collaboration with Arsenal that takes this debate further, delving into it more deeply. In texts and visual essays, authors use their own practices to examine central questions of working with film: looking at the relationships between the camera and its object, between imagery and language, as well as at the position of their own production of images in the globalized media landscape, at solidarity, resistance and compromises. "Der Standpunkt der Aufnahme – Point of View" also includes republished older texts that in part have been translated for the first time, including three articles by Serge Daney and an essay by Avery Gordon, as well as an interview with Jean-Marie Straub that was conducted in February 2013 by Elke Marhöfer and Mikhail Lylov. It was published by Tobias Hering, who is also the program curator. The project was made possible thanks to support from the Capital Cultural Fund and the Stiftung Menschenwürde & Arbeitswelt.
ZÜRI BRÄNNT (Zurich's Burning, CH 1980) made by the collective Videoladen Zürich will be shown at the book launch om March 13 – a happy fusion of punk, poetry and video activism.
What do 16mm, 35mm and 70mm actually mean? What is screen masking and what is it used for? How does a dissolve work? And what is actually happening when the image on the screen stops moving and begins to melt? If you’re interested in finding out how films get on to the screen, Arsenal would like to invite you to take a peek behind the scenes on one of our projection room tours. Our projectionist Bodo Pagels will show you round the projection room, tell you all about film formats, projectors and projection techniques, demonstrate how films are fed into the projector and provide a full introduction to the secrets of film projection. He will also be happy to answer any questions you might have about the cinema set-up and will adapt the tour to your wishes and interests as far as possible. The next scheduled tour will take place on Saturday March 29, at 4pm. Please register in advance.
Rebecca Alfred Hitchcock USA 1940
Mit Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, George Sanders
35 mm OF 130 min
Strange Days USA 1995
Mit Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore
35 mm OF 145 min