December 2020, berlinale forum

Berlinale Spotlight: 50 Years of the Forum in New York

As part of the Berlinale Spotlight series, the Arsenal iis presenting a selection taken from this year’s Berlinale Forum anniversary programme along with the German Film Office, an initiative of German Films and the Goethe-Institut New York. Together with film curators of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Berlinale Forum has put together six programmes entitled "Comes the Revolution: The Berlinale Forum at 50", which can be seen online on the website of the Goethe-Institut from December 14 to 20.

The Berlinale Forum is devoted to cinema that explores new, radical paths in form and content. In February 2020, the Forum celebrated turning 50 by bringing its very first edition from 1971 back to the big screen. After taking its first bow during the 70th Berlinale, the anniversary programme has since made its way to Hong Kong, Lisbon and Brussels, and will travel on to Recife, Brazil, as part of a collaboration with the “Janela Internacional de Cinema” festival. It will be soon be making a stop in New York: six film programmes selected by the Berlinale Forum together with the Museum of Modern Art will be available online from December 14 to 20, with an online panel discussion to be held on December 18 with Josh Siegel, film curator at MoMA, director Rosa von Praunheim and Cristina Nord, head of the Berlinale Forum.

Works will be shown from 1961 to 1971 by directors such as Chris Marker, Med Hondo, Sarah Maldoror, Rosa von Praunheim and Helke Sander. They explore the tectonic shifts of the late 60s – whether on the streets, at universities and factories or in the bedroom. A desire for artistic experimentation meets political militancy, just as agitprop rubs up against avantgarde formal languages. The filmmakers try out collective production processes, with their subjects ranging from the American Civil Rights Movement via the second Women’s Movement and anti-colonial struggles to new forms of labour organisation.

Watching these films half a century later also implies asking what they achieved and where they went astray. They have lost nothing of their urgency. The Black Lives Matter protests from earlier this year showed, for example, how the injustices of the late 60s have barely been overcome. En passant, “Comes the Revolution: The Berlinale Forum at 50” thus also provides inspiration and strategies for grappling with the present.

The six film programmes selected from the anniversary programme of the Berlinale Forum

Programme 1 / Programme 2: BLACK LIBERATION

Angela – Portrait of A Revolutionary
USA / France 1971
by Yolande du Luart

Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther
Algeria / France 1970
by William Klein

Programme 3: AFRICAN INDEPENDENCE

Mes voisins (My Neighbours)
France 1971
by Med Hondo

Monangambeee
Algeria 1969
by Sarah Maldoror
with Mohamed Zinet, Carlos Pestana, Elisa Andrade

Phela-ndaba (End of the Dialogue)
South Africa 1970
by Members of the Pan Africanist Congress (Antonia Caccia, Chris Curling, Simon Louvish, Nana Mahomo, Vus Make, Rakhetla Tsehlana)

Programme 4: WOMEN’S LIBERATION

Eine Prämie für Irene (A Bonus for Irene)
Federal Republic of Germany 1971
by Helke Sander
with Gundula Schroeder, Sarah Schumann, Helga Foster

Programme 5: GAY LIBERATION

Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt (It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives)
Federal Republic of Germany 1971
by Rosa von Praunheim
with Bernd Feuerhelm, Beryt Bohlen, Ernst Kuchling

Programme 6: WORKERS’ RIGHTS

Eine Sache, die sich versteht (15x) (Something Self Explanatory (15x))
Federal Republic of Germany 1971
by Hartmut Bitomsky, Harun Farocki
with Rolf Becker, Herbert Chwoika, Norbert Langner

On vous parle de Paris: Maspero, les mots ont un sens (Calling from Paris: Maspero. Words Have a Meaning)
France 1970
by Chris Marker

Les trois-quarts de la vie (Three Quarters of a Life)
France 1971
by Groupe Medvedkine Sochaux