February 2020, arsenal cinema

50th Forum


The Berlinale Forum is 50: This offers a good opportunity to look back on it as well as to think about what the future might hold. By re-screening films shown in 1971, we will remember the Forum’s first year. Some of the films (such as W.R. – MISTERIJE ORGANIZMA by Dušan Makavejev) have attained cult status whereas others – like ICH-AUSSEN-OBJEKTE by Klaus Bessau - have almost been forgotten. In this case, there is no print left, only a very fragile original negative at risk of being damaged if run through a projector. The material of film – it becomes clear with retrospect – has a temporality. Loss and damage can only be prevented by continuous archival conservation and preservation work, such as that carried out by the Berlinale Forum and the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art.

Many of the films in the Forum’s first year explored the societal upheavals of the late 1960s. They include key feminist works, like San Fracisco Newsreel’s THE WOMAN’S FILM, which shows women in the US talking about their marriages, jobs, hopes and disappointments, and Helke Sander’s EINE PRÄMIE FÜR IRENE(A Bonus for Irene), which depicts the struggle for equality in a washing machine factory and on the way home at night. Documentaries such as THE MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON by Howard Alk and Mike Gray or ANGELA – PORTRAIT OF A REVOLUTIONARY by Yolande du Luart show solidarity with the civil rights movement in the US. Filmmaking itself became political at this time, with collectives such as the Groupe Medvedkine Sochaux (SOCHAUX: 11 JUIN 68), the already-mentioned Newsreel Group and the Colectivo intelectuales y trabajadores (EL CUARTO PODER) taking the place of the director. The historical program will be linked with a newer selection of films that connect the past and present, so that one can sense a leitmotif for the 50th Berlinale Forum. This is particularly true for the opening film EL TANGO DEL VIUDO Y SU ESPJO DEFORMANTE by Raúl Ruiz and Valeria Sarmiento. Ruiz shot the film in Chile in 1967, but was not able to finish it before 1973 when he was forced into exile. The film reels turned up years later in a Santiago basement and using an elaborate procedure, Ruiz’ widow Valeria Sarmiento, who is a film editor and director too, has been able to transform them into a finished product. The film plays with its own temporality in many ways: It encompasses the 50 years since it was made and has the narrative literally move forwards and backwards, establishing a meta-level in that motifs that characterized Ruiz’s later oeuvre can be seen in their incubation phase - long after they have reached maturity.

Other films that challenge perceptions of linearity in their conception of time include Constanze Ruhm’s GLI APPUNTI DI ANNA AZZORI / UNO SPECCHIO CHE VIAGGIA NEL TEMPO, which moves between the present and the early 1970s with tableau-esque re-enactments, a film set and archive material. The role of women in film production is the central question. The different levels of time gallop all over the place like boisterous foals in Paula Gaitán’s four-hour-long LUZ NOS TRÓPICOS: In the present, a young indigenous man travels by boat to a village in the Amazon region. In another era - some 150 years earlier - European settlers make a similar journey. Later, the time levels merge and 19th-century figures turn up in the present, while others from snowy New England nap on a bench in the Amazonian village. Time and place are only separated by one cut. LUZ NOS TRÓPICOS is a splendid tribute to the forests and rivers of north and south America, as well as to the indigenous peoples who live in and near them. This connects the film to others such as Viera Čákanyová’s FREM or Lois Patiño’s LÚA VERMELLA: They are all united by the fact that they explore the fragile relationship between humanity and nature. Other films, such as Clarissa Thieme’s WAS BLEIBT I STA OSTAJE I WHAT REMAINS / RE--VISITED, Radu Jude’s TIPOGRAFIC MAJUSCUL and Jonathan Perel’s RESPONSABILIDAD EMPRESARIAL – ask how political violence can be translated into film images. Jude opts for the method of re-enactment, taking up the case of a teenager who came into the sights of Romania’s Securitate in the 1980s. Perel uses static long shots of the factories of companies that supplied the military during Argentina’s dictatorship (1976-’83). A sober voiceover explains how trade union members were harassed in these places, and workers arrested and sometimes tortured, killed or “disappeared”.

The triptych OUVERTURES, which was shot by a collective, explores the legacy of the Haitian revolution and its leader Toussaint Louverture (1743–1803); it ends with a present that Louverture’s ghost refuses to let rest. For good reason, considering that just as the uprising of 1791 was a test case for Enlightenment ideals - what good is the idea that all people are brothers if slavery and colonialism exist? - today’s ideals regarding humanism and democracy are also riddled with contradictions. We should make way for the ghosts of Port-au-Prince so that they can help us to become aware of our own blind spots. (cn)

Reduced prices apply for Arsenal members for Forum and Forum Expanded screenings. Multiple screening tickets (only available at Arsenal) are also valid for all Forum and Forum Expanded screenings.

Here you can find information on the films of the Forum main programme, on the films of the anniversary programme and on the panel day.

arsenal cinema: Archival Assembly #1

10:00 am silent green Kulturquartier

Found Futures I

Found Futures I: Opening with project presentations and a presentation of the paper "Call for Action and Reflection– On Decolonising Film Archives"
With the authors, Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst, Goethe-Institut and Dox Box

Free entry
arsenal cinema: Archival Assembly #1

01:00 pm Cinema 1

Les nomades du soleil La Suisse s’interroge

Les nomades du soleil (The Nomads of the Sun) Henry Brandt Switzerland 1953 44 min
DCP OV/EnS 44 min
La Suisses’interroge (Switzerland Ponders) HenryBrandt Switzerland 1964 22 min
DCP OV 22min
Digitally restored by Cinémathèque suisse

Introduction: Frédéric Maire (Director of Cinémathèque suisse)
arsenal cinema: Archival Assembly #1

03:15 pm Cinema 1

Hussein Shariffe: Of Dust and Rubies

Hussein Shariffe: Of Dust and Rubies
Of Dust and Rubies, a Film on Suspension Tamer El Said Germany 2020
Digital file engl. OV 49 min
Diary in Exile Atteyat Al Abnoudy, Hussein Shariffe Sudan 1993
Digital file OV/EnS 52 min

With Tamer El Said (filmmaker), Eiman Hussein (psychotherapist, daughter of Hussein Shariffe), Talal Afifi (Sudan Film Factory), Haytham El-Wardany (author), Erica Carter (King’s College London) and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus
arsenal cinema: Archival Assembly #1

06:30 pm Cinema 1

Die Sammlung Rafla

The Rafla Collection Project Presentation with films

With Ali Atef, Tamer El Said, Maged Nader (Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre), Dana Enani, Randa Megahed and Ihab Rafla Free entry
arsenal cinema: Archival Assembly #1

09:30 pm Open-­Air-­Kino at Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Ekmek Parasi Geld für’s Brot

*Ekmek Parasi Geld für’s Brot Serap Berrakkarasu Germany 1994
DCP OV/EnS 100 min
Premiere of the digital restoration