january 2018, arsenal cinema

Unknown Pleasures #9
 – American Independent Film Fest

From January 12-28, Unknown Pleasures #9 presents a selection of award-winning American independent films that provide an alternative insight into US filmmaking. Most of them are being screened in Germany for the first time. What is clear is that many deal with the question of what can be shown if there are no pictures: How can memories be depicted (MARJORIE PRIME)? How can the origins of the universe be imagined (VOYAGE OF TIME)? How can one tell one's own family story if only fragments remain (DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN?) There are many, varied answers.

If one looks back on the past year, it seems only right that a film that documents the day of the presidential election should be at the center of Unknown Pleasures #9. Kevin Jerome Everson's TONSLER PARK shows images of a polling station in a predominantly Afro-American district of Charlottesville, Virginia; pictures of a lived democracy. The film is one of the most important of the year. Its reduced dispositif develops a maximum force and brings home the fact that we have before us a battlefield. Since its premiere, the film's reception has changed dramatically: Last summer, a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville erupted into violence and a car drove into a mass of people. The horror is palpable from the outset in Travis Wilkerson's DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN? The filmmaker travels to the south to tell the story of his great-grandfather – a white man who shot dead a black man at the end of the 1940s. A family story becomes a horror story. What is conspicuous is that the films explore their environment very accurately. Regional cinema, made away from the big cities, has always represented a central strand of independent filmmaking. In these films, to talk about people means to talk about their environment – landscapes, cities, towns and buildings do not only provide a scenic background. One of the finest examples of this is Kogonada’s feature debut COLUMBUS. The eponymous medium-sized town in the state of Indiana is known for its modernist architecture. In this documentary-esque feature, architectural history and the fate of two people merge furiously. MARJORIE PRIME and ESCAPES are both by Michael Almereyda. MARJORIE PRIME is a science fiction film in which holograms (Jon Hamm, Tim Robbins, Geena Davis) take the place of dead people, to give solace and provide "living" memories. Hampton Fancher is known above all as the writer of the sci-fi classic "Blade Runner" (1982) and of "Blade Runner 2049" (2017). In ESCAPES, we learn much more about his unusual life. Terrence Malick's VOYAGE OF TIME: LIFE'S JOURNEY is also cosmic. After taking years to shoot, this documentary about the origins of the universe can now be seen in Germany for the first time.

january 2018, arsenal cinema

Ernst Lubitsch Retrospective (2)

"Earnest? My first name is earnest enough!" Ernst Lubitsch (1892–1947) was a master of wittily directed comedies, which still bear his unmistakable hallmark. A playful sense of levity, subtle innuendo, eloquent ellipses, dialogue accentuated via sarcasm, irony, concision, and exact timing are characteristic of the proverbial "Lubitsch Touch". Lubitsch’s sophisticated comedies shaped the style of the social comedy, which connected the discriminating with the popular. The recurring themes of the films were the illusion and the reality of high society, love triangles, and the conventions of bourgeois partnership models. Due to the virtuosity of his directing, the subtle art of leaving things out, and the many ideas communicated indirectly, Lubitsch's sexual allusions were passed by the censors without comment, even after the Hays Code came into force in 1934.

Arsenal is continuing its retrospective in January and showing 14 films made between 1918 and 1948, focussing largely on the comedies that he made in Hollywood.

january 2018, arsenal cinema

Magical History Tour – 
Improvisation in Film

"Improvisation is the highest form of concentration, of awareness, of intuitive knowledge, when the imagination begins to dismiss the pre-arranged, the contrived mental structures, and goes directly to the depths of the matter. This is the true meaning of improvisation, and it is not a method at all, it is, rather, a state of being necessary for any inspired creation." Taking Jonas Mekas's quote from his "Notes on the New American Cinema" text as a starting point, we are dedicating this month's Magical History Tour to the different forms and manifestations of improvisation in film. Twelve examples that criss-cross film history testify to the massive scope for trying things out in rehearsals or in front of a running camera, to the programmatic opportunities to shape proceedings both by actors and for them, to breaking though boundaries and conventions, and last, but not least, to the exuberant joy of acting (together), experimentation and the unpredictable.

january 2018, berlinale forum

13. Forum Expanded — The programme is Complete

The selection for the 13th Forum Expanded programme, which opens at the Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg on February 14 under the title “A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself”, is now complete.

34 film and video works of all lengths and genres together with 15 instal-lations have been invited from a total of 27 countries.

This year’s programme once again includes a variety of works that use documentary techniques to examine and explore the potential for both cinema and music to question, illustrate, analyse and bring about change in such a way that they are capable of intervening in social and political events on the global stage. In so doing, they also expand the very con-cept of the documentary.

 

december 2017, berlinale forum

13th Forum Expanded: "A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself"

In 1947, avant-garde cinema pioneer Maya Deren notes: "Marxism - only theory of politics which designed a mechanism capable of changing itself - as in the concept of the withering away of the state." Media scholar Ute Holl begins a paper on this film poet’s theories and conception of cinema, which takes the form of "a sustained inter-vention in the social and sensory relationships of all those who take part in this ongo-ing form of communication." The title of this year’s Forum Expanded programme is taken from this same paper, with "A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself" referring to the specific agency possessed by cinema, which is especially well expressed in the rich spectrum of forms to be found in documentary works.

Since its foundation, Forum Expanded has always placed a special emphasis on doc-umentary forms. This year once again the term encompasses archival works, fiction and experimental film, in the sense that the selected works function as an expression of a reality that represents a new take on the past while transforming it into a possible future.

 

arsenal cinema: Roles and Plays – The Films of Matías Piñeiro

07:30 pm Cinema 1


Todos mienten

Todos mienten They All Lie
Argentine 2009
DCP OV/EnS 76 min

arsenal cinema: filmPolska - The Art of the Camera: Marcin Koszałka

08:00 pm Cinema 2


Istnienie

Istnienie The Existence Marcin Koszałka Poland 2007
DCP OV/EnS 69 min

Marcin Koszałka in person
arsenal cinema: Roles and Plays – The Films of Matías Piñeiro

09:00 pm Cinema 1


El hombre robado

El hombre robado The Stolen Man
Argentine 2007 Digital file OV/EnS 90 min