October 2020, arsenal cinema

Film Restored. The Film Heritage Festival

LOVE, LIFE AND LAUGHTER, 1923

Though the fifth edition of the Film Restored Film Heritage Festival can only take place under restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 21 film programs from over 15 countries can still be seen on the big screen from October 27 to November 1, all of which were produced, handed down and restored thanks to European cooperation. This year’s festival, titled "A European Affair", is dedicated to the meaningful contribution of cross-border cooperation in the archiving and restoration of film heritage. To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, four films will be presented that deal with this turning point in European history. The film program will be supplemented by workshop presentations, talks and panel discussions.

KUHLE WAMPE (Slatan Dudow, D 1932, 27.10.) This classic political film tells the story of a working-class Berlin family that loses their home and moves to an encampment on the outskirts of the city. Daughter Anni and her fiancé begin to question the social conditions. Directed by Slatan Dudow and made in collaboration with Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler, the film was banned by the Nazis shortly after its premiere. A reconstruction of the premiere version from 1932 was made possible thanks to cooperation between the Deutsche Kinemathek, the British Film Institute and the Cinémathèque suisse.

THE BRILLIANT BIOGRAPH: EARLIEST MOVING IMAGES OF EUROPE (Netherlands 1897–1902, 28.10.) More than 200 films shot in the first 68-mm widescreen format between 1897 and 1902 are held in the collection of the EYE Film Institute in the Netherlands. The one-minute films show current events, scenes and impressive nature shots. To capture the extraordinary richness of detail of this high-resolution format, the films were digitized in 8K.

LOVE, LIFE AND LAUGHTER (George Person, GB 1923, 28.10.) For nearly 100 years, this film starring British silent movie star Betty Balfour was believed lost, until a copy recently turned up in Amsterdam’s EYE Film Museum. Balfour plays an impoverished revue dancer who dreams of becoming famous on stage. She falls in love with a destitute writer with equally lofty aims. Two years later they take stock of what has become of their dreams. The boundaries between dream and reality, tragedy and comedy become blurred.

TATJANA IVANČIĆ SHORT FILM PROGRAM (Yugoslavia 1969–76, 28.10.) With her Super 8 camera, Tatjana Ivančić captured impressions of her surroundings and transformed them into poetic snapshots. She attentively observes the microcosm of coastal beaches, the bustle of the city reflected in a shop window or the first steps of her grandchildren. The largely forgotten work of the Croatian filmmaker has been digitally restored in a partnership between Croatian, Serbian and Austrian institutions.

KATZENSTEG (Betrayal, Gerhard Lamprecht, D 1927, 28.10.) Napoleon supporter Baron Schranden forces his maid Regine to lead Bonapartist troops across the “catwalk” into the back of a Prussian Freikorps unit, whose members are killed as a result of this treasonous act. Years later, the villagers of Schranden are still plotting revenge. In his historical melodrama, director Gerhard Lamprecht calls nationalism and flag devotion into question. The premiere of the restored version will be accompanied live by pianist Richard Siedhoff with a new composition.

HÔTEL DES ACACIAS (Yves Hanchar, Pierre Charles Rochette, François Vanderveken, Isabelle Willems, Belgium 1982, 29.10.) A number of young women and men arrive one after another at the Hôtel des Acacias, all in search of love. The film was made in 1982 as an exercise led by Chantal Akerman at the Belgian college INSAS, shortly before she shot GOLDEN EIGHTIES. The influences are unmistakable.

BALLETPRIMADONNAN (Mauritz Stiller, Sweden 1916, 29.10.) The penniless violinist Wolo falls in love with peasant girl Anjuta, but Count Orsky also has his eye on her and separates the lovers. A duel ensues between the two men. The Svenska Filminstitutet was able to reconstruct this early work by the pioneer of Swedish film production and discoverer of Greta Garbo and restore it to its original colorfulness.

JUDASPENGAR (Victor Sjöström, Sweden 1915, 29.10.) Sjöström was another pioneer in Swedish film before leaving for Hollywood. This drama, once believed lost, was recently reconstructed in a collaboration between the CNC and the Svenska Filminstitutet. It tells of the unemployed Holk, who needs food for his sick wife. While hunting illegally with his friend Blom, Holk accidentally shoots the forester. Suspicion falls on Blom, who manages to escape and now hides with his friend.

EXTASE/EKSTASE (Ecstasy, ČSR/Austria 1933, 29.10.) Director Gustav Machatý helped launch the young Austrian actress Hedy Kiesler, later known as Hedy Lamarr, to worldwide fame with this melodrama about breaking out of an unhappy marriage. Atmospherically dense with influences of cinematic modernism, the film was scandalous in its day: Even more than the nude scenes and the close-ups of female lust, the extramarital affair between Adam and Eva provoked calls for censorship. Various edited versions have survived, which made reconstruction of the original version difficult.

GOLDEN EIGHTIES (Chantal Akerman, Belgium/F/CH 1986, 29.10.) In a shopping center, between Lili’s hair salon, the Schwartz family’s clothing boutique and Sylvie’s bistro, the paths of employees and customers cross, all of whom dream, talk and sing of love. Chantal Akerman created a complicated sound design for this unusual musical – with clacking high heels, the sound of a zipper and a backdrop of conversations and songs.

DAS HAUS DER LÜGE (The House of Lies, Lupu Pick, D 1926, 30.10.) Lupu Pick’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “The Wild Duck” has been widely forgotten, even though the film received rave reviews at its premiere in Berlin. In his drama, Ibsen deals with delusions and entanglements in a bourgeois nuclear family. The restoration of the film by Norway’s National Library was based on a 35-mm nitrate copy archived at the Deutsche Kinemathek.

DIESE BRITEN, DIESE DEUTSCHEN. ZWEI FILME – EIN DIALOG (Barbara Junge, Winfried Junge, Murray Martin DDR/GB 1989, 30.10.) Living and working environments in Newcastle and Rostock in the late 1980s are the focus of this two-part co-production, the only partnership of its kind between Great Britain and the GDR. After East German filmmakers Barbara and Winfried Junge profiled shipyard workers, fishermen, brigades and families in Newcastle, a British film team traveled to Rostock-Warnemünde to give insights into the lives of the people there from their outsiders’ perspective.

GERMANIA, ANNO ZERO (Germany Year Zero, Roberto Rossellini, D/I 1948, 30.10.) Twelve-year-old Edmund roams through a destroyed Berlin and ekes out a living with black market trading and fraud. Left to fend for himself, he falls under the influence of an old teacher and his Nazi ideology. He kills his sick father and ultimately himself. This German-Italian co-production paints an unsparingly realistic picture of the external and internal devastation left behind by Nazi rule and the war.

LOLA MONTEZ, DIE TÄNZERIN DES KÖNIGS (Willi Wolff, D 1922, 31.10.) After her exile, Jewish actress and producer Ellen Richter fell into obscurity. This film portrayal of the life of Lola Montez starring Ellen Richter in the leading role was considered lost. In this telling, Lola Montez, legendary star of the 1840s, is a Spanish Roma. The story of her meteoric rise to fame as an internationally celebrated dancer and influential courtesan was filmed on location in Spain, Italy, Greece, Paris and Bavaria.

LUMPENKAVALIERE (Carl Boese, D/Austria 1932, 31.10.) The comic duo known as Fy og Bi in their native Denmark were an export hit, adapted in many places for the domestic film market. (Known as Pat & Patachon in German, or Ole & Axel in the U.S.) In the German-Austrian “talkie” film LUMPENKAVALIERE they travel the world as street musicians and delight audiences with their merry melodies. Only in Vienna, the world’s music capital, do they have no luck. Then they receive a letter from their foster daughter Kitty, who is in dire financial straits. Pat & Patachon stop at nothing to raise the money.

DON QUICHOTTE (Don Quixote, Georg Wilhelm Pabst, F 1933, 31.10). After the Nazis seized power, G.W. Pabst initially remained in France, where he shot this literary adaptation in three language versions. Between drama and comedy, this adaptation of the well-known story alludes to the tragedy looming in Europe in the early 1930s: Don Quixote is struck down not by windmills, but by the tyranny of power. G.W. Pabst masterfully combines the aesthetics of silent film with the possibilities afforded by sound.

VALAHOL EURÓPÁBAN (Somewhere in Europe, Géza von Radványi, Hungary 1948, 31.10.) In 1945, a group of orphaned children scours the countryside in search of food and shelter. They come across a bombed-out castle in which a musician is hiding. Written by Béla Balázs and directed by Géza von Radványi, this was the first internationally successful Hungarian film made after WWII. In neorealist style, it portrays the moral and physical destruction of Europe through war and poverty.

DER GOLEM, WIE ER IN DIE WELT KAM (The Golem, Paul Wegener, D 1921, 1.11.) In 16th-century Prague, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II wants to expel the Jewish population out of the city. Rabbi Loew creates a golem figure from clay to fend off the threat to the residents of the Jewish ghetto. This succeeds at first, but the Prague Golem eventually turns against its creator and runs amok. Paul Wegener’s film adaptation of the Jewish legend was one of Germany’s most successful silent films. The restoration of the German version was made possible by a negative archived in the Belgian Cinematek.

DIE VENUS VOM TIVOLI (Leonard Steckel, CH 1953, 1.11.) With Leonard Steckel as director and Eugen Schüfftan as cameraman, two emigrants from Germany are brought together on the set of this Swiss production. In a wholly contemporary way, the film tells the story of a troupe of actors thrown together from a hodgepodge of countries during the war. Hilde Krahl plays the famous actress Anina Wiedt, who joins the troupe to save it from ruin. In Schaffhausen, at a performance of the Jacques Offenbach operetta “Der Regimentszauberer,” she meets the bailiff Knüsli, who comes to know a new world through the group of actors.

AKMENS UN ŠĶEMBAS (Rolands Kalniņš, Latvia (USSR) 1966, 1.11.) This film by Rolands Kalniņš tells the story of three friends whose paths cross and separate again during WWII. When two of them meet again 20 years later, they have to grapple with the death and betrayal in their pasts. The depiction of Latvian legionnaires fighting on the side of the Germans displeased Soviet censors, and the film was heavily modified. The original version has now been restored and will receive its digital premiere.

EUROPA (Lars von Trier, DK/F/D/Sweden 1991, 1.11.) Leopold Kessler, a young American, arrives in a destroyed Germany to help rebuild the country in the aftermath of WWII. He is offered a job as a sleeping car conductor with the Zentropa railroad company, which had collaborated with the Nazis not long before. Leopold falls in love with the daughter of his employer and, through this liaison, becomes involved in the dealings of the Werewolves terrorist network. Lars von Trier’s Europe is a nightmarish continent, with a dark undertow into which Leopold’s naive wishes for a better world sink. (ah)

For more information, visit https://www.deutsche-kinemathek.de/besuch/festivals-symposien/filmrestored05