Ecuador is a small country with big ambitions located in the northwest of South America, flanked by Columbia and Peru. Since President Rafael Correa came to power in 2006, it has benefitted from an unparalleled boom and this is also true for the cinema. The country was one of the last on the continent to introduce a film law and to start providing state funding for the film industry, which was long overdue. A small but stable production sector has now emerged in Ecuador, with recent films receiving numerous international awards. There is no lack of talent: This has been shown in the past and each new work continues to prove it. Ecuador’s filmmakers have mastered a wide range of expressions and are as comfortable with experimental film, as they are with the auteur perspective (EL GRILL DE CÉSAR, RUTA DE LA LUNA) or the thriller genre (QUITO 2023). Most find their material in social reality (MEJOR NO HABLAR DE CIERTAS COSAS, NO ROBARÁS …) or in recent Ecuadorian history (CON MI CORAZÓN EN YAMBO). However, their colleagues in other areas of culture, such as literature, art and music, display much more evidence of dealing with global themes and forms.
We are glad to present seven recent films from Ecuador from March 20-29, and to welcome the directors Javier Andrade and Darío Aguirre to Arsenal for the start of our program.
Until April 7 - due to urgently needed renovation in Cinema 2's projection room that will improve analogue movie projection - the Magical History Tour will move to Cinema 1, taking advantage of the much larger screen to present an extensive Cinemascope program.
Cinemascope – rarely has another cinematic term aroused more expectations in the cinemagoer. As the curtain opens slowly at the beginning of a showing, it reveals an ever-growing screen that the walls of the cinema seem hardly able to contain. Expanding images, spectacular expanses, breathtaking proximity, visual wealth – bigger than life or just unnecessarily oversized? Billy Wilder found sober words for this technological innovation that Twentieth Century Fox unveiled with the epic costume drama "The Robe" in 1953: "An ideal format for filming the life of a dachshund!" Fritz Lang's remark in Godard's Scope film "Le Mépris" is also unforgettable: "Cinemascope is fine for snakes and coffins, but not for people." The films of our Cinemascope retrospective hail from five decades and there is not one dachshund to be seen and only a few snakes and coffins. They impart a sense of the immense scope (!) there is for different artistic approaches to the over-sized 2:35:1 aspect ratio and its impact on the use of space and narrative strategies.
Remembering the Holocaust and the crimes of the Nazis is today, 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, of unabated pertinence. The Arsenal’s film collection enables not only a reading of our institution’s history, but also that of remembrance and examining the Nazi past in Germany. The program "Asynchronous. Documentaries and Experimental Films on the Holocaust. From the Collection of the Arsenal" comprises 46 films from the years 1955 to 2014, 10 of which will be available in digital form from the autumn. The selection includes both well-known films as well as those that have received less attention or been undeservedly forgotten.
DARK LULLABIES (Irene Lilienheim Angelico, Abbey Neidik, Canada 1985), THE LAST JEW FROM DROHOBYCH (Paul Rosdy, Austria 2011), HABEHIRA VEHAGORAL (Choice and Destiny, Tsipi Reibenbach, Israel 1993), HA’MAKAH HA’SHMONIM VE’AHAT (The 81st Blow, David Bergman, Jacques Ehrlich, Haim Gouri, Miriam Novitch, Zvi Shner, Israel 1975), ME’KIVUN HA’YAAR (Out of the Forest, Limor Pinhasov Ben Yosef, Yaron Kaftori Ben Yosef, Israel 2003), PARTISANS OF VILNA (Josh Waletzky, USA 1986), SHOAH (Claude Lanzmann, France 1974–1985) SOBIBOR, 14 OCTOBRE 1943, 16 HEURES (Claude Lanzmann, France 2001), TOTSCHWEIGEN (A Wall of Silence, Margareta Heinrich, Eduard Erne, Austria/Germany/NL 1994) and VOICES FROM THE ATTIC (Debbie Goodstein, USA 1988). A catalogue that presents and contextualizes the films is also available.
In the coming school term, the first Arsenal Film Studios – one-week-long film education workshops – will take place at schools in the Berlin districts of Kreuzberg, Adlershof and Pankow. Anna Faroqhi, Haim Peretz, Ute Aurand, Robert Beavers, Eunice Martins and Stefanie Schlüter will develop film projects on the theme of light with the participating children and youths. The works will then be presented at Arsenal.
Mejor no hablar de ciertas cosas
The Porcelain Horse
Javier Andrade Ecuador 2012
DCP OV/EnS 104 min
A cielo abierto: derechos minados
In the Open Air, Undermined Rights
Pocho Álvarez Ecuador 2009
Blu-ray OV/EnS 108 min