February 2018, arsenal cinema

48. Forum


In two films made by female directors in this year's program, new significance is given to video material shot during political upheavals: At the end of the 1980s, Kristina Konrad went out onto the streets of Uruguay to collect opinions about a referendum on a law that would guarantee amnesty to the former military junta. UNAS PREGUNTAS (One or Two Questions) examines a democratic process very closely. At around same time, the world’s attention focussed on the Nazi past of Kurt Waldheim, a former UN secretary general and Austrian president. Ruth Beckermann's WALDHEIMS WALZER is a documentary essay of shocking pertinence.

Julien Faraut also worked with material from the 1980s for his film L'EMPIRE DE LA PERFECTION (In the Realm of Perfection). Meticulous footage of John McEnroe’s matches at the French Open taken by an unnamed director analyzing the game of tennis through the medium of film allows for a humorous exploration of the parallels between films and games: Cinema may lie, but sport does not.

Corneliu Porumboiu's FOTBAL INFINIT (Infinite Football) offers an equally curious take on ballgames. It depicts the absurd efforts of an official in provincial Romania to bequeath to the world an improvement on the beautiful game. But is this really about football?

Two US feature films riff on intellectual escapism. Ted Fendt’s second feature CLASSICAL PERIOD is a quirky and melancholy story about intellectualism and solitude. Members of a reading group zealously exchange cultural references. Is this an attempt to escape the modern world or themselves? Ricky D'Ambrose’s debut NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE is set in a similar social environment. Against the backdrop of unrest triggered by a philosopher, it uses real documents and fictional legacies to tell the story of a young man who soon disappears. An uncanny vision of modern life. 

For its part, Josephine Decker’s MADELINE'S MADELINE precipitates into the analogies between creativity and insanity. The young heroine does not like spending time with her mother; she feels free mainly with her theater group. But where lies the border between role and personality?

Two Moroccan films examine the relations between the sexes. JAHILYA by Hicham Lasri is an angry reckoning with what the director sees as Morocco’s base and misogynist society. Narjiss Nejjar’s APATRIDE (Stateless) tells of a historical event, which still determines the relationship between Morocco and Algeria, from a female perspective. Using captivating imagery, the film depicts a gentle but determined woman who tries to transcend the border between the two countries.

Hong Sang-soo is back in the Forum. PUL-LIP-DEUL (Grass) is a cheerful story about the clients of a small cafe whose owner loves classical music. Kim Minhee, who won the Silver Bear for best actress in 2017, plays an author who prefers to observe than participate.

A new Forum guest is Sergei Loznitsa with DEN' POBEDY (Victory Day). Every day on 9th May, a huge crowd gathers at the Soviet War Memorial in Berlin’s Treptower Park. Loznitsa observes the floating between pride and reflection, patriotism and a need for recognition.

Members of Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art can obtain reduced tickets for all the Forum and Forum Expanded screenings. Loyalty cards (available at Arsenal only) can be used at all of our screenings.

arsenal cinema: 48. Forum

48. Forum / 68. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

48. Forum / 68. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin