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BIGGER THAN LIFE (Nicholas Ray, USA 1956, 12. & 19.3.) The schoolteacher and father Ed Avery (James Mason) is seriously ill and after being prescribed an experimental drug, he makes a remarkable recovery. Soon however, he becomes addicted to the tablets which cause him to have wild mood swings. Ray forces the widescreen format into the narrow confines of American suburbia, the small living rooms and parceled lots. He lends the 2:35:1 format an unimagined emotional force, when Ed becomes a megalomaniac and starts to tyrannize his family.

DJANGO UNCHAINED (Quentin Tarantino, USA 2012, 13. & 26.3.) Tarantino's Cinemascope revenge fantasy crosses western and deep south mythology, bringing together two unequal heroes: the former dentist and bounty hunter Dr. Schultz and Django, the slave whose freedom he has bought. They join forces to rescue Django's wife from a plantation in Mississippi and to exact a cruel revenge on her owner.

SEISHUN ZANKOKU MONOGATARI (Naked Youth, Nagisa Oshima, Japan 1960, 14. & 24.3.) One of the most important representatives of the Japanese New Wave, Nagisa Oshima's second film distinguished itself forcefully from established Japanese cinema with its tough, realistic style. The film tells of a young couple that makes money with small capers, venturing more and more into crime. The raw emotions are expressed directly and violently. The camera  is in motion as it observes the events, often in a radically close manner, while the daring use of frames in widescreen explode the language of cinema.

RIVER OF NO RETURN (Otto Preminger, USA 1954, 14. & 19.3.) A farmer, his 10-year-old son and a saloon singer (Marilyn Monroe) are at the Canadian border trying to escape from "Indians". They are on a raft going downstream through gorges and rapids. The two adults both have a past: he was in jail and has to learn how to be a family for his son, while she was left by her gambler husband. They are now dependent on one another and both struggle with ambivalent feelings, which fluctuate between aversion and fascination.

MANHATTAN (Woody Allen, USA 1978, 15.3. & 2.4.) One might think that the vertical lines of Manhattan's architecture that stretch to the sky and the CinemaScope's widescreen horizontal cinematic image should not be brought together but the cameraman Gordon Willis tackled this fundamental conflict, for example with the "Rhapsody in Blue" sequence, and at the same time set new standards for representing New York. MANHATTAN is the ultimate declaration of love to this famous borough, which provides the perfect backdrop for depicting the mid-life crisis of a twice-divorced television writer seeking love and understanding.

FORTY GUNS (Sam Fuller, USA, 1957, 15.3. & 2.4.) Barbara Stanwyck plays an authoritarian "high riding woman with a whip" who defends her vast swathes of land and wealth with 40 hired guns only to leave everything behind in the end. Sam Fuller and the film's cameraman Joseph Biroc look beyond the scenic black and white images of classic Westerns settings (saloons, the sheriff's office, barns and streets) for their pictorial compositions that reproduce the protagonists' perceptions and experiences in an unsettling manner.

PROVERKA NA DOROGACH (Checkpoint, Alexei German, USSR 1971/1986, 17.3. & 8.4.) In 1971, it would have been absolutely unthinkable to make a Soviet film about a Red Army soldier taken prisoner by the Germans in the Second World War who becomes an auxiliary policeman for them before joining the partisans. German's first feature was banned for 15 years but was screened when Gorbachev introduced his Glasnost reforms. German's uncomfortable plea for humanity, irrespective of ideological categories, is marked by long black-and-white CinemaScope takes and frequent close-ups that lend the film a calm flowing feel, which in parts is almost lyrical.

EUROPA (Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/G/F/CH 1991, 17.3. & 6.4.) The last part of von Trier's Europa trilogy, a cross between melodrama, thriller and disaster movie, mainly takes place on a train where a young naïve American of German descent is a conductor trying to help reconstruct Germany. Working with Andrzej Wajda's cameraman Edward Klosinsky, von Trier intensively employs superimpositions, back projections, double and multiple exposures so that spaces merge into a single one without borders.

NEUN LEBEN HAT DIE KATZE (The Cat Has Nine Lives, Ula Stöckl, FRG 1968, 18. & 30.3.) The first feminist film in CinemaScope! In her thesis film for the Institute for Film Design in Ulm, Stöckl presents an episodic situation report about five women: Katharina wants a life without sentimental constraints, Anne is wondering whether to become more politically active, Gabriele gets involved in business, Magadalena defends her promiscuous husband, and Kirke, the epitome of the ideal woman, who can transform all men into pigs. What they all have in common is the will to change. Extremely colorful, taking pleasure in improvisation and unscrupulously subjective, it is a classic.

SHOTGUN STORIES (Jeff Nichols, USA 2007, 24.3. & 8.4.) Cotton plantations and fields as far as the eye can see – Nichols wanted the viewer to see the landscapes of his home state Arkansas, which provides the location for his debut, exactly as he had - in CinemaScope. Against a backdrop of vast landscapes and with an oppressive sense of immediacy, an ancient family feud unfolds among half-brothers who meet for the first time in years at their father's funeral. Revenge, guilt and atonement are the central themes of this laconic Western that has been transposed to the present.

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (David Lean, GB 1962, 28.3. & 4.4.) This monumental masterpiece in spectacular CinemaScope is based on the life of the British lieutenant T.E.Lawrence whowas involved in the Arab insurgency against Turkish rule during the First World War. Peter O'Toole goes from being a young lieutenant stationed in Cairo to a victorious desert general, equipped with money and arms from British HQ and revered like a god by his Arab allies, before his dream of a united Arabia founders dramatically. Lawrence remains mysterious, an individualist who is tormented by demons at night, whose emotional states seem to be reflected in the gigantic desert landscapes.

DER GETEILTE HIMMEL (Divided Heaven, Konrad Wolf, GDR 1964, 31.3. & 7.4.) Past and present, city and village, demands and realities, work and study – East and West. Opposites and contradictions are part and parcel of the student Rita's daily existence. When she has a nervous breakdown, she looks back on her life until now: her love for the chemist Manfred, his "flight from the republic", and her short visit to West Berlin, and her return to the GDR. Using extensive flashbacks, Wolf – who based his film on Christa Wolf's eponymous novel – develops a critical portrayal of the GDR in CinemaScope, without lofty enthusiasm but instead with a much more recognizable dose of skepticism.

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media