Although contemporary French cinema has so much of interest to offer, films by young, unknown filmmakers which don't boast stars and conventional stories have a difficult time finding distribution here in Germany and thus making their way to cinemas. We're therefore happy to be able to present five acclaimed films as part of the 16th Französische Filmwoche from December 2-7, that were shown as part of the ACID selection at the Cannes Film Festival from 2014-2016 and which bear witness to the diversity of the forms of artistic expression in current French cinema. The spectrum of the program ranges across intimate film diaries, documentary (self-)depictions of adolescents from the Paris banlieue, and features that connect the real with the fantastic. All five titles have English subtitles and are being shown in Berlin for the first time thanks to our collaboration with ACID, an association of filmmakers founded in 1992 which supports independently made films and helps them find a larger audience.
Frank Capra (1897-1991) is one of the most successful filmmakers of the classical Hollywood era. He was the first person whose name appeared above the title of a film in the opening credits and one of the few Hollywood directors to have far-reaching control over his films. Capra led Columbia Pictures into the big leagues and made Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Arthur, and James Stewart famous. His films received 40 Oscar nominations and won a total of 12 Oscars over one single decade (1933-1942), including three for Best Director and two for Best Picture.
From December 8 until January 20, we are showing a comprehensive retrospective of 25 of Frank Capra’s films, from his first short made in 1921 to his last feature in 1961.
A concentration on a small number of characters and locations, a focus on inner conflicts, and a restricted timeframe: the key components of the "Kammerspiel" film genre that emerged in the 1920s sound fairly ascetic. But often a unique sense of drama emerged from the extreme paring down of place, time, and plot that was carried and intensified by the subjectifying use of light and by a camera which got up close to the protagonists to record the tiniest changes in their gestures and facial expressions. This film movement, which was inspired by the modern stage design ideas Max Reinhardt had implemented from 1906 onwards on a new Berlin theatre next to the Deutsches Theater also called the Kammerspiele, experienced its first (and perhaps only, in a classical sense) highpoint at the beginning of the 20s and marked the transition from Expressionist film forms to realistic trends in Germany.
This month’s Magical History Tour presents the varied echoes of the Kammerspiel film in film history, from classical homages to the early examples of the genre all the way to creative variations upon it.
Sabine Nessel's lecture poses the question of the relevance of archives for film historiographical research. We bring the cycle of Arsenal archive films by American independent documentarian Les Blank to a close with SPEND IT ALL (Les Blank, Skip Gerson, USA 1971, 6.12.), a film in praise of the everyday, culinary, and musical culture of the Cajuns in southwest Louisiana and WERNER HERZOG EATS HIS SHOE (Les Blank, USA 1980, 6.12.), in which filmmaker Herzog honors a lost bet. The start of a new focus on films of the feminist cinema of the 70s is formed by Helke Sander's DIE ALLSEITIG REDUZIERTE PERSÖNLICHKEIT – REDUPERS (West Germany 1978, 13.12.), which shows the everyday life of press photographer and single mother Edda Chiemnyjewski (Helke Sander) in 1970s West Berlin.
The lecture series runs until February 2017 and is open to anyone interested.
Ich war neunzehn Konrad Wolf GDR 1967
35 mm 119 min
Mercuriales Virgil Vernier France 2014
DCP OV/EnS 104 min
Frühe Dokumentarfilme von Volker Koepp:
Tag für Tag DDR 1979 35 mm 32 min
Feuerland DDR 1987 35 mm 30 min