may 2018, arsenal cinema

Retrospective Pietro Germi

Pietro Germi (1914–1974) was one of the outstanding personalities of Italian cinema from the 40s to the 70s. Born in Genoa, the director, actor, and screenwriter was one of the first generation of Neorealist directors alongside Visconti, De Sica, and Rossellini. Much like those of Antonio Pietrangeli, Germi’s directorial works represent a link between Neorealism and Commedia all’ italiana, “which doesn’t betray the former, but rather moves it forward in popular, satirical fashion” (Gerhard Midding). Germi gained international recognition and fame with his third film IN NOME DELLA LEGGE (1949), a milestone in the history of the mafia film which doubles up as a tribute to John Ford and Sicily, where Germi shot a total of five films. IL CAMMINO DELLA SPERANZA (1950), IL FERROVIERE (1956) and the literary adaptation UN MALEDETTO IMBROGLIO (1959), in which Germi also took on the leading role, established him as a significant force in Italian cinema. The Oscar-winning international success DIVORZIO ALL’ITALIANA followed in 1961, which was the start of a series of socially critical comedies about Italian customs, traditions, and laws which polemicized the discrimination of the woman and the dual morals of the bourgeoisie. What’s characteristic of Germi’s films is their precise observation of Italian life, their enthusiasm for the expressive power of faces, and the director’s humanist view of the world – who Otar Iosseliani saw as “one of the most noble-minded filmmakers ever to have existed”. For all their bitterness in the depiction of social living conditions, they are above all films “in which the heavy weight of life is assuaged by the rich depth of feeling, a warming maturity of the heart.” (Martin Schlappner)

We are presenting eleven films by Pietro Germi from 1948 to 1972 in collaboration with the Italienisches Kulturinstitut. The retrospective is accompanied by four introductions and a lecture by Mario Sesti (19.5.).

may 2018, arsenal cinema

Archive außer sich: Italy ’68

Between 1968 and 1977, there wasn’t just an increase in the number of campaigns conducted by the New Left on the streets of Italy, new forms of cinematic mass communication also sprung up alongside them. Labor disputes and police violence found their way into the films of the New Left, with feminist groups drawing attention to female living realities and themes such as abortion or machismo. The anti-psychiatry movement had a greater effect in Italy than in other countries, which ultimately brought about the abolition of closed psychiatric clinics. The films of the Italian New Left were a laboratory of cinematic forms. Prints from the Arsenal archive make up the bulk of the program put together by Cecilia Valenti and Fabian Tietke, which is supplemented with additional works by Aamod (Archivio audiovisivo del movimento operaio e democratico) and Cineteca Nazionale, and placed in a broader context by various guests and introductions.

may 2018, arsenal cinema

The Past in the Present – New Films from Algeria

Over the last few years, a young generation of filmmakers has formed in Algeria whose works deal with the current state of their country while equally referencing its past. Numerous social taboos have meant that artistic engagement with Algeria’s history – such as the historical and cultural legacy of the colonial era, the Algerian War (1954-62), and the “Dark Decade” (1991-2001) – is hardly a matter of course. Perhaps the most deafening silence in Algeria is reserved for the bloody period of terror in the 90s, when the war between Islamist groups and the military led to 200,000 deaths.

With this in mind, Arsenal is presenting seven films from 2013-2017 which sound out the reverberations of the past in the present. They offer insights into a society traumatized across different generations and social strata and show a country in stasis. The burden of the unspoken, the scars of history, and the extent of the hardship faced by the younger generation become clear in all the titles in the program, whether fiction, documentary or essay film. The contours of today’s Algeria come into sharpest relief when past and present become superimposed.

This new Algerian cinema has also set things in motion, whether in relation to its films, which have received considerable international attention as well as numerous prizes, or with respect to the filmmakers themselves, who have brought about a revitalization in cinema culture in Algiers by setting up ciné-clubs and screening films there; the city is otherwise largely devoid of cinema auditoria nowadays. We are very happy that three filmmakers from Algeria will be our guests at Arsenal thanks to the support of the Goethe-Institut Algiers and the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient: Narimane Mari, Djamel Kerkar, and Karim Moussaoui will all be in Berlin to discuss their films with our audiences. A panel discussion in English will also be taking place on May 6th to explore filmmaking conditions and the state of independent cinema culture in Algeria.