February 2019, berlinale forum

Archival Constellations in Forum and Forum Expanded


The Forum’s objectives have always included the idea of looking at film history from the point of view of contemporary cinema. Living archive work produces new things of all kinds. More and more films are being digitised and restored. This doesn’t just allow significant moments from cinema to be called to mind, but also enables existing film historical narratives to be reconsidered in a present marked by transmediality and globalisation. The title “Archival Constellations” is at once an expression of this interplay between old and new and a reference to the collaborations and acts of community and solidarity which enable digitisation to help rewrite film history.

One of this year’s focuses is on the restoration of films that have helped to write the Forum’s history: NUESTRA VOZ DE TIERRA, MEMORIA Y FUTURO (Our Voice of Earth, Memory and Future) by Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva (Colombia 1981), THE SECOND JOURNEY (TO ULURU) by Arthur and Corinne Cantrill (Australia 1981), VARIETY by Bette Gordon (USA 1983), Derek Jarman’s THE GARDEN (UK 1990) and Béla Tarr’s seven-and-half-hour-long SÁTÁNTANGÓ (Hungary 1994).

New discoveries include the musical films EGARO MILE (Eleven Miles)by Ruchir Joshi (India 1991) andSAY AMEN, SOMEBODYby George T. Nierenberg (USA 1983) as well as DE QUELQUES ÉVÉNEMENTS SANS SIGNIFICATION (About Some Meaningless Events)by Mustapha Derkaoui (Morocco 1974) about the role of the cinema in times of political repression. The films that Deepa Dhanraj made in the 1980s with the feminist film collective Yugantar are also about resistance.

Two new films look at the history of film: DELPHINE ET CAROLE, INSOUMUSES (Delphine and Carole) by Callisto McNulty about the encounter between the actress Delphine Seyrig and the feminist filmmaker Carole Roussopoulos and WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED by Mariam Ghani (2018) about unfinished films made in communist Afghanistan between 1978 and 1991. In the Berlinale Shorts program, we present restored films made from the 1960s to the 80s by the Sudanese Film Group.

At SAVVY Contemporary, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam examine a documentary film commissioned by the BBC – THE SHADOW CIRCUS: THE CIA IN TIBET (1998). SHADOW CIRCUS is part of the “Archive außer sich” Arsenal project, as is “Think Film No. 7 – Archival Constellations”, a symposium on archive-related themes and alternative archive projects.