april 2021, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 in April: Otar Iosseliani

"What you give is yours, what you keep is lost," goes one Georgian proverb. "Everything that happens in my films has to do with people's weakness for possession," says Otar Iosseliani. "And this leads to real values such as feelings disappearing." One could add that all of the director's films are about the disappearance of culture, sensuality, altruism and solidarity. They are poetic tragicomedies which feature a keen sense of humor, a slight wistfulness, reduced dialogue and flowing imagery.

Born in 1934 in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, Otar Iosseliani studied music and math before taking a directing course in 1955 with Alexander Dovzhenko at the VGIK Film School in Moscow. His graduation film APRILI (1962), a critical examination of the petty bourgeois aspirations to possess, was banned in the Soviet Union. Like many of his later films, APRILI does not have extensive dialogue or commentary. Iosseliani is of the opinion that words should not be determining factors and should not hold any important information. In his works, the essential is revealed by facial expressions, gestures and the way the protagonists hold themselves. Words are equal to music and other noises on the soundtrack.

 

After making three feature-length films between 1966 and 1975, Iosseliani was no longer given the opportunity to work in the Soviet Union and emigrated to France in 1982. Iosseliani has since made a dozen films, in Senegal, Italy, France and Georgia, which he all considers Georgian films. They talk about the poor and the rich, urban life and the country, traditions, the loss of values and the passing of time. They are at once melancholy and cheerful because "when things are taken very seriously it is hard to talk about them seriously (O.I.).

 

Arsenal – Institute for Film und Video Art is the German distributor for Otar Iosseliani’s complete collection of work. In April, we will show a selection of seven feature-length films on arsenal 3, from his full-length debut GIORGOBISTVE (Falling Leaves, 1966) to his last film for the time being, CHANT D’HIVER (Winter Song, 2015).

april 2021, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 in April: Bricks

On 16 September 2013, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Arsenal showed a double programme entitled "Bricks" in the presence of Harun Farocki. Farocki's ZUM VERGLEICH (In Comparison, G 2009) and CHIRCALES (Colombia 1971) by Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva, two films about brickmaking from the Arsenal's collection, were shown. While Farocki's film observes manual labour, industrial work and computer work in India, Switzerland, Burkina Faso, France and other places, creating a global contemporary history of brick production, Marta Rodríguez's and Jorge Silva's film focuses on a brickmaker family over a period of six years, exemplifying the exploitation of the workers.

 

"Archive außer sich" will show both films, which have a long history with the Arsenal Archive, on arsenal 3 in April.

april 2021, arsenal cinema

Online discussion on Otar Iosseliani

As part of our programme on our streaming platform arsenal 3 there was an online discussion with Erika and Ulrich Gregor and Barbara Wurm on April 13. The discussion can be seen on our youtube channel: Link

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