Taryn has made her way from Northern Ireland to the United States – for love, which proves to be fleeting. She seeks refuge with relatives in Baltimore, but Aunt Kim and Uncle Bill are busy trying to end their marriage. It’s supposed to go smoothly and with dignity, because their daughter Abby has announced that she’ll be coming home to visit between semesters – to a home that no longer exists.
Every beginning marks an end, and vice versa. The same is true for relationships. "I used to be darker, then I got lighter…" – song lyrics that hover over the story. Director Matt Porterfield lets profound themes emerge like melodies: a stroll through the music genres and the inner life of the characters, with a gentle camera that is insistent yet not intrusive. Dramatic turning points occur almost as an afterthought and unfold all the more intensively as a result. Redemption and release, loss and change, building things up and breaking them down – everything is in a state of flux, even the water in their private swimming pool, framed just as impressively as in HAMILTON, Porterfield’s debut film. I USED TO BE DARKER is a film about being able to let go. "And then I got lighter …" (Ansgar Vogt)
One day in the life of Soad, who lives with her mother and bed-ridden father on the outskirts of Cairo. While bright sunlight and the sounds of the city can be made out behind the half-closed shutters, everything in the flat exudes the smell of old age, sickness and stagnation. Her mother works nights in a hospital and has barely any energy to spare during the day. Soad too is no longer young, having resigned herself to caring for her incapacitated father and putting her own life on hold. The camera patiently follows her movements and daily activities that have become routine, capturing her frustration as well as moments of great tenderness. Hala Lotfy’s impressive debut focuses on the relationship between light and shadow, within and without, life and death. Coming Forth by Day, the idea of emerging into light, is the literal translation of the title of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Soad’s longing is palpably directed outside. But when she leaves the flat in the evening and wanders alone through Cairo by night, it becomes clear just how far she has already distanced herself from her own needs. And yet at the end of the night begins a new day that may still bring change.
We're very pleased to announce that most of Ulrike Ottinger's films are now available in digital format (DCP and/or Blu-ray.)
"With her films, Ulrike Ottinger has re-invented the theatrical and ethno-poetic capturing and description of the Other in film and in a playful manner literally quashed the difference between European and non-European cultures, as well as between feature and ethnographic cinema. [...] Her work is captivating in the beautiful way it combines seriousness and cheerfulness, rigor and poetry, epos and lightness, myth and history, and tradition and modernity." (Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs)
An artist is shot: peace activist, director and actor Juliano Mer-Khamis died in front in his theatre in the Jenin refugee camp in 2011. His murder has yet to be solved to this day. Mer-Khamis, son of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father, had been head of the Freedom Theatre since 2006, using art as a means of challenging hopelessness and violence in the refugee camp. He also saw the theatre as representing an opportunity to offer artists a stage regardless of their nationality and sex. The film ART / VIOLENCE documents the period following Juliano Mer-Khamis’ murder: how should his legacy be established, how should the feelings of impotence, grief and anger be dealt with and how should the theatre continue its work? The film employs a mix of interviews, scenes from the theatre, footage of a hip-hop concert, images from the past and animated sequences to document theatre projects old and new as well as the difficulties and challenges encountered by the young actors in their work. ART / VIOLENCE is split up into three chapters, each relating to one of the Freedom Theatre’s projects: Alice in Wonderland, Waiting for Godot and Antigone.
Cesar Oiticica Filho’s first film is a visually striking found-footage documentary about the filmmaker’s uncle, Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980), one of the most important Brazilian artists of the 20th Century. Foregoing voiceover narration and expert analyses, the film allows Oiticica himself to narrate his life and expound upon his art in his own words, and in extremely rare archival audio and visual material. The artist’s commentary guides us through his artistic development and expansive political and aesthetic interests, from his modernist paintings and sculptures in the 1960s to his expanded cinema installations and slide show environments of the 1970s, and from the favelas and the lively street life of Rio, New York and London to samba schools and the tropicália cultural movement, jumpstarted by Oiticica but associated with musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. The film’s rhythmic montage of images doesn’t simply illustrate the artist’s commentary, but both contextualises and radically expands upon it. The result is a bold and complex portrait of an artist for whom life (including homosexuality and drug use) and work determined and transformed each other. (Forum catalogue; Marc Siegel)
A studio. A man and a woman. Moving images on the screen, which he comments on, spurred on by her questions. All the footage was shot from the window of a flat: views of the street, the metro line running above it, the canal, into the windows of the buildings opposite. The flat belongs to the man’s lover, the man is a guest, spending his nights there but never his days. By the canal, young men from Afghanistan set up makeshift shelters as the man looks on, developing increasing sympathy for them. The seasons change, winter, spring, summer. Actress Eva Truffaut and director Vincent Dieutre are talking about love. The tone of their conversation is subdued, little more than a whisper. Although the camera’s gaze is fixed on the world beyond the window, it’s also about what’s behind it. The noises from outside mix with the tones from within. Simon, the lover, a trade-unionist and civil rights activist plays the piano. For Dieutre, he was a hero. “Simon taught me again what compassion is”. The relationship is over, he talks about him in the past tense, tenderly and full of respect. It’s just the key to Simon’s apartment at Paris metro station Jaurès that he never owned. (Berlinale Forum catalogue; Christoph Terhechte)
"Humanity is haunted by the sea… It is a threshold that mediates between life and death, upper and lower, the aereal and the aqueous… It is infinitely beautiful, yet disquietingly deep." The directors spent one year at sea filming with industrial fishermen from New England. In portraying the labor of fishing, it participates in a longstanding history of transforming fisherfolk into images, one that goes back to the beginnings of photography. Yet it resists both the romanticism and the anthropocentrism of this tradition, striving instead for a less sentimental relationship between the human and the pelagic, and to afford equal aesthetic attention and ontological weight to the human, the ecological, and the industrial. In the waters where Melville's Pequod gave chase to Moby Dick, Leviathan captures the collaborative clash of man, nature, and machine. Shot on a dozen cameras – tossed and tethered, passed from fisherman to filmmaker – it is a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors.
We are delighted to present Eva Heldmann's STEPPING OUT (FREMD GEHEN. GESPRÄCHE MIT MEINER FREUNDIN) on our VoD-channel at realeyz.tv.
Constantly on the look out for a bit of sex and fun, Eva Heldmanns friend Annette makes regular forays into the club world on American army bases in Frankfurt and the surrounding area. Annette’s candour, the provocative way this German academic discusses her sexual desires, as well as her penchant for on-camera exhibitionism whenever she happens to find herself beside a black GI, illuminates a side of female sensuality that is rarely portrayed. Annette’s alert and inquisitive erotic behaviour and her own ‘outrageous’ take on life doesn’t merely change our view of the male world at the barracks – it turns it upside down completely.
A drawing course, a safari park and a taxidermist’s workshop: three settings in which humans and animals meet. The focus of observation is on relationships of sight and perception, which often reflect unequal power structures at the same time. In the process, the film also seems to be considering the question of how animals can be filmed. It’s nothing like the technically high-powered animal films of today, whose almighty cameras transcend the boundaries of water, land and air and no longer know nature’s secrets. Sober visual observation without commentary, with an often static camera watching proceedings from a fixed position with a keen eye for form and movement: horns in front of a concrete wall, nervous zebras’ legs in the cramped stalls, the precision contained in the taxidermist’s skilful hand movements. Carefully considered shots which allow the viewer time to reflect on beauty and the unfamiliar, on this domesticated wilderness in the midst of civilisation. This all allows a form of choreography to emerge to the accompaniment of the surrounding noises, a cinematic bestiary in which man too takes his place among the stoic, impassive, impatient, wild and rebellious animals. (Forums catalogue, Anna Hoffmann)
We are very glad to welcome into arsenal distribution’s range HÉLIO OITICICA (Brazil, 2012) which won both this year’s Caligari Film Prize and the FIPRESCI Award, as well as ART/VIOLENCE (Palestinian Territories/USA, 2013), the winner of the Cinema fairbindet development award. Both films will be released in autumn. From this year’s Forum and Forum Expanded program – shown recently in the scope of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival – the following films are already available via arsenal distribution: LUNCH WITH GERTRUDE STEIN (Isabelle Prim, France 2012), ONCE EVERY DAY (Richard Foreman, USA 2012), ROTATION (Ginan Seidl, Clara Wieck, Germany 2012), NOT BLACKING OUT JUST TURNING THE LIGHTS OFF (James Richards, United Kingdom 2012) and BÜHNE (Daniel Kötter, Germany 2012).
Düsseldorf, beginning of the seventies. Hans, a young, introverted student of Beuys, meets Ruth, a young homeless woman living in a park. Fascinated by her, he takes Ruth in and makes her the subject of his video work. Ruth quickly settles into the artist scene around Hans, she gets a job as a drawing model at the academy. But Hans is skeptical about her new life, he suspects that Ruth, in her transformation to ‘glamour girl,’ is only trying to get away from herself. For him, she remains the baffling homeless girl that he had secretly fallen in love with, a subject that he doesn’t want to share with anyone. Jealous of his best friend Philipp, he locks Ruth up in his studio so he can – so he thinks – look into her secrets in the test tube of art. Art and life become inextricably intertwined.
Since last February, a selection of films from the arsenal distribution range has been available at ARTE Creative, an interactive platform that also encompasses experimental film and video work. Newest addition is .TRACING (.SPURNAHME) by Juliane Henrich. .TRACING is a film about „imagined memory“ related to a place – an area in the center of Berlin that used to be a prussian drillground in the 19th century before, in 1951, the socialist GDR-government built the „Stadium of the World’s Youth“ on it – a site for sport-events and political manifestations adjacent to the border with West-Berlin. Currently the German Intelligence Service is errecting its new headquarters on the same ground. A female narrator talks to an absent counterpart and intertwines different layers of time and perspectives of remembering.
Congratulations: "Tepenin ardı" wins the Best Feature Film award at the sixth Asia Pacific Screen Awards, the region’s highest accolade in film!
On a summer’s day retired forester Faik is receiving visitors at his country home. His son Nusret has come to visit with Faik’s two grandsons Caner and Zafer. Despite the summer setting however, the mood remains oddly muted. Faik is having problems with the local nomads and is constantly on his guard, while Zafer has been suffering mental problems since his military service. This small group is completed by the family of Mehmet and Meryem and brings together different temperaments and social classes. But conflicts are avoided: it’s all someone else’s fault, that of the nomads, who remain an invisible foe.
Three couples in crisis each seek advice at therapy sessions and argue over infidelities, abortion and separate bedrooms. Accusations, fears and traumas all come up, with separation very much on the cards. These case studies reveal areas of conflict, structures and relationship patterns all of a universal nature. A film that portrays the efforts needed to preserve love and relationships as a work in progress. A set-up whereby therapy sessions are held in the sober atmosphere of a studio. The problems being negotiated are standard ones. The clients are played by actors, the therapists work in the field in real life and are not playing a role. These sessions are supplemented by scenes staged with minimal decor from the everyday lives of the various couples in line with the epic theatre tradition as well as workshop discussions in which the therapists relate their practices to the film team. Documentary elements and improvised acting are combined in distinctive fashion, creating a variation on the documentary which works with abstraction and fiction and is unconcerned with authenticity. Resembling nothing so much as a public experiment, this artificial set-up yields touching moments full of emotion.
In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato - Uganda’s first openly gay man - and his fellow activists work against the clock to defeat the legislation while combatting vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes their movement to its core and sends shock waves around the world.
This years winner of the "Cinema fairbindet" Award will be touring through German cinemas from September 18th until the end of December as part of the "Cinema fairbindet" roadshow. The list of participating cinemas can be found below together with the date of the screening(s). Please see the homepage of your particular cinema for more information.
The little village of Doel stands in the way of the expanding port of Antwerp. The demolition permit has been granted – the past must make way for the future. Emilienne, a sprightly old lady, sees things differently. She doesn’t want to move – she’s far too happy in her house with its wild garden. But the expansion work is progressing and Doel already seems almost like a ghost town. Only the oldest inhabitants, including Emilienne’s friend Colette and the elderly village rector, remain, holding out tenaciously in the face of their shared fate. When the rector dies and Colette appears to give up, Emilienne is left behind all alone.
We are happy to present Wendelien Van Oldenborgh's new film BETE & DEISE (The Netherlands / Brazil, 2012), which has been added to our distribution range. The film shows the encounter between two women in Rio de Janeiro, who each give the public a voice in their own individual way. Bete Mendes is a veteran telenovela actress and political activist, Deise Tigrona one of the key voices of baile funk, whose song "Injeção" formed the starting point for M.I.A.'s song "Bucky Done Gun". The film came about while Van Oldenborgh was carrying out research on Brazilian cinema and examining the use of gestures in public space as an expression of social conditions. The German premiere screening on August 16 will be attended by the filmmaker.
We are delighted to present Bernhard Sallmanns‘s documentary THE BAD FIELD on our VOD channel at realeyz.tv. A familiar view: How much does one see when one looks out of a window? What is visible, what remains invisible? The view of THE BAD FIELD from the window of my room in my parents´ house is the starting point of this video work. The field is both a doorway to and a surface onto which themes of the film can be projected: childhood, war, the disappearance of rural world – periods, times overlap and clash.
After ten years of marriage Karen leaves her husband. Basically, so she tells him later, they were never right for each other. She wants to make a fresh start, find out who she is – or could be. But beyond the emotional issues this step raises first and foremost practical questions: Karen has no job, no friends, and hardly any money. She gets by somehow and meets Patricia, a hairdresser, at the cheap flophouse where she has landed. With her younger and at first glance stronger friend by her side, Karen takes her first steps towards independence and meets Eduardo, a writer. A woman on a journey of self-discovery. What is the driving desire behind her actions? At which point has one found oneself? How easy is it to mix up what other people expect with what you actually want? How much loneliness can we bear? When do we stop making compromises for the sake of a conventional notion of security and stability? In describing the small steps that Karen makes, Gabriel Rojas Vera focuses on the character’s inner life rather than the external drama. With great sympathy for his characters he tells a little story that touches on big questions.
CALL ME KUCHU by Katherine Fairfax Wright und Malika Zouhali-Worrall, which received the 'Cinema fairbindet' award as well as the Teddy for Best Documentary at this year's Berlinale opens theatrically in selected cinemas on September 20, 2012. The release will be accompanied by the 'Cinema fairbindet'-Roadshow, starting September 18 in Bonn. The film follows the brave attempts of LGBT activists to defeat a new bill in Uganda which threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato - human rights activist and Uganda’s first openly gay man - and his colleagues work against the clock while combatting vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes their movement to its core and sends shockwaves around the world.
The residents of a soon to be demolished building have set up a temporary autonomous zone to declare war on a world where utopia and poetry have gone astray. They are a kind of Situationist urban guerilla, spending their days creating havoc at both a material and immaterial level. They recite, declare, dis- cuss, perform and console. A woman is kidnapped, close combat is mimed, pubic hair formed into a mustache. Many of their joyfully nonsensical actions go round in circles, a sign already of their ironic self-reflection: When it comes down to it, they are merely an aesthetic imitation of the slogans, gestures and postures of ʼ60s and ʼ70s political and artistic practice. Ultimately, the residents announce the end of their own avant-garde movement and abandon their building to demolition. With the same pleasure in creating deliberate confusion, this imaginative and wonderfully photographed film experiments with form and content. Riddled with discursive and filmic references, it is fully aware of its own limitations whilst still stridently putting forward the thesis that in each repetition there remains something of the havoc-creating power of the original gesture.
Film festivals have two main functions: discovering new films and providing an opportunity for filmmakers, curators, critics and audiences to get together to debate the discoveries in question. The "Arab Shorts" festival took place from 2009-2011, organized by the Goethe Institute Cairo and headed by artistic director Marcel Schwierin, and successfully showed both the ongoing significance of these two tenets and the fact they should still not be taken for granted. Curators from Arab countries were invited to present short film programs in Cairo. A wealth of independent works from the Arab world was presented, which had seldom been seen in such compact form.
We were convinced that the "Arab Shorts" should be seen and discussed beyond the festival in Cairo and thus selected several curated programs and individual works. In collaboration with the Goethe Institute Cairo and thanks to their generous support, we were thus able to add a total of 61 works to our distribution range.
The results of our endeavors are now being presented in Arsenal cinema from July 2-5: three evenings each made up of two curated programs before a final "Long Night of Arab Shorts", which will consists of a more than four-hour program of individual works. Members of the audience, curators and filmmakers are invited to eat, drink and exchange ideas and opinions in the foyer during the breaks. We are particularly glad that curators Ala Younis, currently a Living Archive fellow, Yazan Khalili and Maha Maamoun and filmmakers and artists Monira Al Qadiri, Firas Taybeh, Ammar Bouras and Solmaz Shahbazi will be attending the event. Afterwards, the Arab Shorts will be going on tour and will be available for distribution.
We are very happy that the majority of works from this year's Forum Expanded can now be booked via our catalogue: KING LOST HIS TOOTH and T.S.T.L (Libanon 2012) by Gheit Al-Amine, AS THEY SAY (Hicham Ayouch, Morocco, United Arab Emirates 2011) FALGOOSH / BLAMES AND FLAMES (Mohammadreza Farzad, Iran 2011), THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING CLASS IN ENGLAND – LITTLE IRLAND. 1842/ 2011 (Rainer Ganahl, Austria, Great Britain, USA 2011), BYE BYE (Paul Geday, Egypt, The Netherlands 2012), MY FATHER IS STILL A COMMUNIST, INTIMATE SECRETS TO BE PUBLISHED (Ahmed Ghossein, Libanon 2011), O.G.B.I.P. [ Our Global Behaviour Is Psychopathic II ] (Virlani Hallberg & Jennifer Rainsford, Sweden 2011), RIVERRED (Eva Heldmann, Germany 2011), TROLLSLÄNDOR MED FAGLAR OCH ORM / DRAGONFLIES WITH BIRDS AND SNAKES (Wolfgang Lehmann, Sweden, Germany 2011), LA ROUGE ET LA NOIRE (Isabelle Prim, France 2011), PERIL OF THE ANTILLES (Fern Silva, USA, Haiti 2011), FATHER, MOTHER, WHAT SHOULD I FILM TODAY? (Isabell Spengler, Germany 2011) as well as installative works like BAROMETER (I) (Heike Baranowsky, Germany 2011), A TALE OF TWO ISLANDS (Paola Calvo & Steffen Köhn, Germany 2011), A WORLD OF OUR OWN (Eline McGeorge, Norway, Great Britain 2011), SEEKING THE MONKEY KING (Ken Jacobs, USA 2011) and VENUS MISSION (Anne Quirynen, Belgium, Germany 2012).
We are delighted to present Stefan Landorf‘s multi-layered debut AUFNAHME (EMERGENCY ROOM) on our VOD channel at realeyz.tv. The director – a former doctor himself – turns his attention to a Berlin hospital. Medical terms such as ward visits, doctor’s rounds, anamnesis, clinical patterns can also be applied to the film’s structure, which makes the institution appear like an organism being given a check up and prodded in various ways.
Saba Sahar has been a policewoman for 18 years in Kabul. But she is also an actress, director and producer. As a representative of the state executive, but also a filmmaker, the central theme of her work is the everyday violence against Afghan women. In Traumfabrik Kabul Sebastian Heidinger portrays a protagonist who is surprising in many ways: who stands up for her cause with impressive matter-of-factness, even though in doing so she openly contradicts Afghan family law. Sahar’s great strength is her unshakeable passion for her shattered country: in a place where women’s rights are trampled underfoot she uses film as a weapon for hitting back. Traumfabrik Kabul takes an unusual look at a setting that is a reliable guarantee for sad news. In its encounters with Sahar, but also in entertaining clips from her work this documentary gives encouragement with its refreshingly different approach. One of her films shows a superheroine rescuing a woman from the clutches of her male adversary using martial arts techniques. Saba Sahar is no superheroine in real life – but she is a heroine who gives hope.
In 2009, Arsenal and Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) presented "LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in a Rented World", which was curated by Susanne Sachsse, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus and Marc Siegel. Featuring 50 international artists and academics, the event was dedicated to the underground pio-neer and queer icon Jack Smith (1932–89). The superstar Mario Montez, who had stood on stage once again for LIVE FILM, and the participating director Ulrike Ottinger received an honorary Teddy award at the Berlinale. And now there's more big news. On the initiative of Jerry Tartaglia and thanks to the passion and drive of many, the Barbara Gladstone Gallery’s Jack Smith Archive is making brand new 16-mm prints available for distribution. Right on time for Camp / Anti-Camp we will be able to present them to the public on April 13 and hope they will grace many screens in future.
We are very happy to present two new films on our VoD channel at realeyz.tv: AFTER EFFECT by Stephan Geene tells a love story trapped between art, cultural capital and marketing. LIFETIMESHORT by Gesine Danckwart is an entertaining, self-deprecating film about a day in the life of six women making yet another attempt to salvage their lives.
The following films are also still available for streaming on our VoD channel: Harun Farocki's TRANSMISSION (Germany, 2007), BULGARIA OF ALL PLACES (Germany/Bulgaria 2006) by Christo Bakalski, SUNNY LAND (Germany, South Africa 2010) by Aljoscha Weskott and Marietta Kesting, SUPER ART MARKET (Germany 2009) by Zoran Solomun and Angelika Levi’s films MEIN LEBEN TEIL 2 (Germany 2003) and ABSENT PRESENT (Spain, Senegal, Germany 2010).
Jin, a bright-eyed six-year-old, lives with her mother and little sister, Bin, in a cramped apartment in Seoul, South Korea. When their mother decides to go look for their estranged father, Jin and Bin are forced to stay with their alcoholic Big Aunt for the summer. The girls are given a piggy bank with a promise from their mother that she will return when it is full. After their mother fails to return, Jin and her sister are forced to move to a farm owned by their grandparents. It is through this journey that Jin comes to learn the importance of family bonds. Inspired by her grandmother’s determination and hard work, Jin learns that taking care of her younger sister is actually a way of filling the hole in her heart.
Since last February, a selection of films from the arsenal distribution range has been available at ARTE Creative, an interactive platform that also encompasses experimental film and video work. Every month, a new arsenal distribution film is added to the channel, which is then available for streaming over a one-year period. Gheith Al-Amine’s ONCE UPON A SIDEWALK ist he latest addition to our channel. This video explores the representation of women as objects of desire and questions the medium of video itself by repeatedly manipulating its parameters. Geith Al-Amine’s works "T.S.T.L" and "King Lost His Tooth" were shown in the Forum Expanded programm of the 2012 Berlinale.
Roger teaches yoga. The relationship with his daughter Zoe, who has just finished her military service, is put under strain by her love for Maya, a young woman who is allegedly a certified schizophrenic. There is tension with the participants of his yoga class when Roger repeatedly comes late and brings along a stray dog. When Roger, Zoe and Maya take on a renovation job on a middle-class home nothing goes to plan and the whole affair is wrought with tension. Three people on the edge: of society, of control, of strength and of collapse. The different realities that Roger tries to get to grips with, metaphors for Maya’s schizophrenia catch up with him in his yoga class when his belief that "we can make our own time" reaches its limits just as fast as his "feel united with the world around you" notion clashes with social reality. For his feature debut, Zbigniew Bzymek has found a form that is remote from social drama – the outline of a story is sketched in a non-dramatic and non-linear way by scenes that are sometimes separated by fades to black. With an idiosyncratic floating atmosphere and one of the most long-lasting guitar improvisations since "Dead Man."
SOLAR SYSTEM is a film about disappearance. It is a portrait of daily life in the indigenous community of the Kollas in Tinkunaku in the mountains of northern Argentina. It tells the story of Ramona and Viviano in the valley of Blanquito and at high altitude in Santa Cruz, of the deaf Fortunato and of Louis’ family, of Soto the shepherd, and of Cecilia and Bernardo whose tractor turned over, of Guido the child who carves men out of clay, of God, of the carnival which everybody celebrates, and of the flowing of the waters. The film shows a meeting without knowing the language of the other, a story of getting to know and seeing each other without words. Non-verbally, exclusively through images the film approaches the people of a small indigenous Kolla community. We accompany the seasonal tramp of Viviano and Ramona from the valley up to the village of Santa Cruz, 3000 meters above sea level, where they spend the summertime until the autumn rain makes them go back to Rio Blanquito. Living with the Kollas, inbetween the old rites and the irruptive modernity, in the grandiose landscape of Yunga and Quechua, the film narrates the day-to-day disappearence of an indigenous people. Dies irae. (Thomas Heise)
First the smoking chimney, which the telephoto lens draws up close to us. Then the trains, the clouds and the flocks of birds, the panorama of the city viewed through a wide-angle lens. Airplanes. Time-lapse. Slow-motion. Later, dark rain clouds, sun, snow, moonlight. The street in front of the building: warehouses before which junk is sorted, wine is delivered, a party is thrown. Burning cars, a terrible motorcycle accident. A young woman who day for day picks up her mail and the newspaper, crossing into the frame from the left and returning from the right. In all the years, she never seems to notice the man standing at his window with a camera watching her, recording life as it unfolds in front of his studio. It is only through the messages on the filmmaker’s answering machine that the viewer notes the passage of time. In the beginning these messages seem a bit funny: calls from happy or disappointed girlfriends, holiday greetings and congratulations. At that point, they are still without any context – but the context soon becomes clear. From then on, every message takes on a historical significance. Illness, death, pregnancy, birth, a break-up, successes, failures. It comes as a shock when we realize that we are in the middle of a life that is more dramatic than any fiction. (Christoph Terhechte)
THE BALLAD OF GENESIS AND LADY JAYE is a film about Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, well-known for his work with Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, and his life and work partner Lady Jaye (née Jacqueline Breyer). One would expect the film to be about the history of industrial music, about Genesis as a link between the pre- and post-punk era, about the underground scene since the 1970s. And it is, but it tells the story from the perspective of a great romantic love that began in the 1990s. Genesis and Lady Jaye start to undergo surgical procedures to merge into a third being, a pandrogynous being.
THE BALLAD OF GENESIS AND LADY JAYE is also a film by Marie Losier, a filmmaker whose trademark is to playfully build up a very personal relationship with her underground role models. Kitchen and garden shots alternate with home-movie performances, magic tricks and archival footage. The film maintains its dynamic rhythm – with the help of Genesis’s cut-up narratives – even when Lady Jaye’s unexpected death turns it into a film about mourning. From that point it revolves around the question of how to die when two have merged into one – and how to go on living.
The first ever winner of the "Cinema fairbindet" Prize, a new award established this year at the Berlinale for films that explore developmental and political issues which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, will be touring through 25 German cities from October 18th until December 21st as part of the "Cinema fairbindet" road show. The list of participating cinemas can be found below together with the date of the screening(s) and any additional events marked. Please see the homepage of your particular cinema for more information.
When Sahand’s father gets a job on an oil rig, the family has to move from Iran’s fertile north to the hot, arid south. Soon afterwards, war breaks out with Iraq. Seven-year-old Sahand is at home with his mother when she is killed by a bomb. He survives but goes into shock. Unable to cope, his father takes him and his 12-year-old sister Shooka back to their home village to stay with their grandfather. The idea is that the calm and beauty of the north will help Sahand get over his trauma, but he finds it tough. On top of this, he is picked on by the other children in the village. One day, he discovers a wounded wild goose near a close-by lake. Its feathers remind him of the white dress his mother was wearing the day she died. Although his grandfather forbids him from looking after it, Sahand sneaks out at night to find the goose.
Thirteen experimental films from this year’s Forum Expanded program are now available from arsenal distribution: BLIND by Annika Larsson (Germany/Sweden 2010, 20’), CARRYING PICTURES by Tom Holert (Germany 2010, 10’), CARRYING PICTURES by Tom Holert (Germany, 2010, 10’), CET HOMME (This Man, Germany 2011) by Markus Ruff, DAS SCHLAFENDE MÄDCHEN (The Sleeping Girl) by Rainer Kirberg (Germany 2010, 114’), FÜHRUNG (Guided Tour, Germany 2010, 37’) by René Frölke, INTO THIN AIR by Mohammadreza Farzad (Iran 2010, 26’), MINOR by Patty Chang (USA 2010, 25’), NATIONAL MOTIVES by Raphaël Grisey (France/Hungary 2010, 28’), PARALLEL WORLDS by Harald Thys and Jos de Gruyter (Belgium 2010, 26’), PAROLE À LA FEMME by Eléonore de Montesquiou (Estonia 2010, 8’), PIGS by Pawel Wojtasik (US 2007-2010, 7’), THE STORY OF MILK & HONEY by Basma Alshrif (Lebanon 2010, 10’) and SURFACE NOISE by Tim Blue, David Phillips und Paul Rowley (Germany 2010, 7’).
From Oct. 28th through Nov. 11th 2009, the Arsenal presented "LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in a Rented World", our first major cooperation with the HAU/Hebbel am Ufer theater. The festival was curated by Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Marc Siegel and Susanne Sachsse, and invited over 50 international artists and scholars to attend in order to pay homage to pioneering American underground artist and queer icon Jack Smith. The performances, films and videos, slide shows, exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and discussions held during the festival did not just provide a variety of perspectives on the gender and genre bending work of Smith, Andy Warhol and their fellow 60's avant-gardists, but also placed Smith's work within the context of a wide-ranging group of contemporary artists.
The works commissioned by Arsenal for the festival are now all available through arsenal distribution.
A DVD box set containing works from 2009 & 2010 is now available for viewing purposes and / or for curators, festivals and other exhibition venues.