january 2020, arsenal cinema

Kenji Mizoguchi Retrospective

In January, we pursue our Kenji Mizoguchi retrospective with nine more films, including some, which are – unjustifiably – less known, as well as works made during the Second World War and in the immediate post-war era. Up to 1945, the Japanese government maintained control over the film industry. After the war, the US occupiers promoted “de-mocracy” and “emancipation” through film. Mizoguchi, for his part, developed a radical and acute criticism of Japan’s rigid social conventions, its patriarchal structures, and the oppression of women early on in his career. However, the harshness and drama of some of the scenes in his post-war films are particularly striking – they are the eloquent expression of the profound uncertainty that prevailed in Japanese society.

january 2020, arsenal cinema

Unknown Pleasures #11 – American Independent Film Fest

Unknown Pleasures features independent US films that give an alternative insight into US cinema and are rarely to be seen in German cinemas. At a time when binary thinking seems to be omnipresent and many are quick to make attributions, this year’s edition of Unknown Pleasures wants to cause some trouble by showing films which elegantly fail categorization. Films that have different production contexts, whose role models are not afraid of being loud and excessive and which play with genre. This year’s opening film, GIVE ME LIBERTY (USA 2019) by Kirill Mikhanovsky, could be described as a pinball machine on the screen: Like balls, the protagonists are flung about Milwaukee, out of control and surprising. Alex Ross Perry’s HER SMELL (USA 2018) starring Elisabeth Moss, is no less insane, a counterpoint to the oh so popular biopics of musicians.

 

Several films pick up on elements of science fiction cinema: In the satire SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (USA 2018), which is set in the near future, a black call center employee imitates a "white" voice and promptly becomes successful. The documentary THE HOTTEST AUGUST (USA/Canada 2019) explores the question of how the future will look in the style of Chris Marker and in SWARM SEASON (USA 2019) the cosmological vastness of the sky over Hawaii merges with the breeding of bees and the simulation of life on Mars.

january 2020, arsenal cinema

Federico & Marcello – The films of Federico Fellini starring Marcello Mastroianni

Federico Fellini (1920–1993) was one of the most significant personalities of Italian cinema and contributed to film history with his very personal and poetic narrative style. To cele-brate his 100th birthday, the Italian Cultural Institute in Berlin is presenting an exhibition entitled “Fellini/Mastroianni/Alter Ego”. Running from 16th January to 29th February, it will feature hitherto unreleased photographs of the director and his favorite actor Marcello Mastroianni. Arsenal will show 35mm prints of the five films that the two friends made to-gether between 1960 and 1987.

january 2020, arsenal cinema

Cinepoetics Lecture #13: Catherine Grant

january 2020, arsenal cinema

Wherein Consisted Our Strength – The Kassel Film Collective and “other cinema” at the Dörnberg youth center

If you will, the first “Das andere Kino” seminar took place in the summer of 1967 at a youth education center on Dörnberg hill near Kassel after a partisan action on the margins of the short film festival in Oberhausen, where the experimental filmmaker Werner Nekes presented a selection of the films that had been rejected. Subsequently, Gerhard Büttenbender, who was one of the people in charge of the youth center and a cultural education lecturer, invited Nekes to teach film. A state-run “youth center” was without doubt a special place for experimental film work. However, the Dörnberg team’s critical stance towards authority and openness towards artistic experiments created conceptual space so that for a few years it became a laboratory for “Das andere Kino”. The Kassel Film Collective was formed at the end of 1968. Apart from Gerhard Büttenbender, its core group consisted of Adolf Winkelmann and the twin sisters Jutta and Gisela Schmidt who knew each other from the Kassel Werkkunstschule, and had got a chance to make the first 16-mm experiments as part of Nekes’ seminars. Bazon Brock also taught on Dörnberg hill and he and Nekes made DAS SEMINAR (1967, 11.1.) together. In it, a situationist happening takes place during one of Brock’s “training seminars”. In the three months that Nekes and his partner Dore O. spent at the center, they also made the famous swing film JÜM-JÜM (1967, 11.1.) and the “Gurtrug Films”, of which we will show GURTRUG NR. 2 (1967, 11.1.) in an analogue double screening.