November 2012, arsenal cinema

EUNIC Presents: 60 Years of the Golden Bear

CUL-DE-SAC, 1966

In November, the European Union National Institutes for Culture in Berlin (EUNIC Berlin) continue their comprehensive film series, showing European films that have won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival over the last six decades. This illuminating trip into the history of the Berlinale comprises 20 feature-length and short films from a wide range of different genres and spans a huge wealth of different artistic signatures.

SKRIVÁNCI NA NITI(Larks on a String, Jirí Menzel, Czechoslovaki 1969, 7.11., with an introduction by Christina Frankenberg) The industrial town of Kladno in the 50s. Enemies of the system, including intellectuals and "bourgeois elements" are supposed to be reeducated by means of forced physical labor at a huge scrap yard.  Although sometimes one of their number disappears, the inmates can still recognize some of the tragicomical aspects of their situation. Based on short stories by Bohumil Hrabal, Larks on a String is a series of paradoxical situations, some of them grotesque, some of them tragically funny. Shot shortly after the Soviet Union marched into Czechoslovakia, the film was banned and lay for decades in a safe in the Ministry of the Interior. After the Velvet Revolution, Larks on a String received its world premiere at the 1990 Berlinale and was awarded the Golden Bear 21 years after its completion. 

DIE VIER IM JEEP (Four in a Jeep, Leopold Lindtberg, Switzerland 1951, 7.11.) Vienna during the occupation period following the Second World War: four soldiers from each of the four occupying powers form a unit in order to search for escaped prisoners. The group reflects the differing views and mentalities of the victorious powers. This Swiss film directed by an Austrian is a piercing plea for understanding between East and West.

LE DEPART (The Departure, Jerzy Skolimowski, Belgium 1967, 21.11., introduction: Stephan Förster) A stirring work on the rage and energy of youth entirely indebted to spirit of the time: trainee hair stylist Marc (Jean-Pierre Léaud) dreams of becoming a racing driver and taking part in a rally. The fact that he doesn't have a car only represents a small obstacle. A fleet-footed satire on modern consumerist life with a breathless jazz soundtrack by Krzysztof Komeda.

CUL-DE-SAC (Roman Polanski, GB 1966, 21.11.) Two gangsters on the run break into an isolated castle on the English coast inhabited by a strange couple. The gangsters call their boss Katelbach, who is supposed to come and save them, but Katelbach doesn't come. As they wait for him in vain, an absurd, macabre game of power and dependence unfolds.

A selection of the short films awarded the Golden Bear will be shown to close the series on 29.11., forming a program with many different voices from Sweden, Romania, the Netherlands and Portugal: SENASTE NYTT(The Latest News, Per Carleson, Sweden 1997), UN CARTUS DE KENT SI UN PACHET DE CAFEA (Cigarettes and Coffee, Cristi Puiu, Romania 2003), ALDRIG SOM FÖRSTA GANGEN(Never Like the First Time!, Jonas Odell, Sweden 2006), RAAK(Contact, Hanro Smitsman, the Netherlands 2006), O ZI BUNA DE PLAJA(A Good Day for a Swim, Bogdan Mustata, Romania 2007), HÄNDELSE VID BANK(Incident By A Bank, Ruben Östlund, Sweden 2010), RAFA(João Salaviza, Portugal/France 2012).

LA NOTTE (The Night, Michelangelo Antonioni, I 1961, 29.11.) A day in the life of a married couple, played by Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni. In between a visit to a terminally ill friend in hospital, who dies over the course of the film, and a party given by a large industrialist in Milan, 24 hours pass in the progressive breakdown of a relationship. Antonioni designs a geometry of loneliness whose piercingly sharp black and white shots eschew any sort of overtly dramatic effect.

An event by Eunic Berlin in collaboration with the Berlin International Film Festival.