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BERLIN. DIE SINFONIE DER GROSSSTADT (Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis, Walther Ruttmann, Germany 1927, 1. & 3.7.) In his classic of the city symphony genre, Ruttmann illuminates the flaneur’s living environment in emblematic fashion: the shimmering metropolis of Berlin in the mid-20s, with the film itself going on one wander or another on closer inspection. As the tempo shifts back and forth between frenzy and calm, the footage of city life, street canyons, trains, streets, crowds machines, illuminated advertising billboards, and evening entertainments merge together into a visual rhythm, a pulsating flow of images. We are showing the restored digital version of the film with the newly recorded original music by Edmund Meisel.

LA NOTTE (The Night, Michelangelo Antonioni, Italy/France 1961, 1. & 2.7.) An elevator glides down the facade of a building, opaque windows on one side, a modern cityscape replete with building sites opening out on the other, a vista into which the film descends centimeter by centimeter from the very beginning. Antonioni creates a precise topography of the space between barrenness and the insanity of construction that is framed in clear, razor-sharp black and white images in which the marriage of Giovanni (Marcello Mastroianni) and Lidia (Jeanne Moreau) seems to dissolve. On her wanderings through run-down courtyards and dusty abandoned lots, Lidia traverses not just a city that is entirely hollow behind its shining facades but also the various abysses of her own life.

PERMANENT VACATION (Jim Jarmusch, USA 1980, 5. & 8.7.) 16-year-old Allie is a "tourist on a permanent vacation", a silent rebel whose father has abandoned the family and whose mother is in a psychiatric clinic, spending his time roving through the urban terrain of New York's Lower East Side. Wandering without any fixed goal, he meets a variety of strange figures: war veterans, women in stairwells, men in cinemas, popcorn sellers. As the film follows Allie's cautious stroll through the metropolis, it's as if time itself is slowing down, before everything revs up again in Allie's spectacular dance scene to the sounds of Earl Bostic's "Up There in Orbit" (in full length), so that the only possible destination for the young drifter can be strived towards: Paris, the original city of the flaneur.

CLÉO DE 5 À 7 (Cleo from 5 to 7, Agnès Varda, France/Italy 1962, 6. & 11.7.) 90 minutes of Paris in real time, 90 minutes in which the titular Cléo (a chanteuse, charmeuse, and flaneuse in one: Corinne Marchand) restlessly wanders the French capital, sitting in cafés, looking for a hat shop, meeting her lover, attending a rehearsal with her band, going to the cinema, and meeting a potential new love. All this to pass the time until she receives the result of her cancer screening. 90 minutes not characterized by drama or trying to overcome one's fate, but which simply communicate the sense of being in the city, the experience of time and one’s own person.

BILDNIS EINER TRINKERIN (Ulrike Ottinger, West Germany 1979, 7. & 14.7.) Following a urgent impulse to forget the past, "She" (Tabea Blumenschein) – a mixture of Medea, Madonna, Beatrice, Iphigenie and Aspasia – buys a one-way ticket to Berlin in order to drink herself to death on a grotesque foray through the pubs, hotels, casinos, and bars of West Berlin. Alienated and unapproachable, she becomes immersed in a stylized late-70s version of the city, meeting protagonists from the island underground during her nocturnal wanderings: drinkers, rock singers (including a spectacular Nina Hagen), writers, artists, taxi drivers. A melodrama. 

MANHATTAN (Woody Allen, USA 1979, 9. & 13.7.) "He adored New York City, he idolized it all out of proportion." – the famous first words with which Isaac (Woody Allen) begins the search for the perfect opening for his novel. Accompanied by a cascade of shots of Manhattan lasting for minutes on end and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Isaac grasps for the right words to formulate his feelings for a city and his own sensibility within it. En passant, he also uses different approaches to sketch out a vision of the changing flaneur – from "romantic thriver on the hustle bustle of the crowds" to "jungle cat". The latter of these then goes to ground in Allen’s rhythmically edited evocation of Manhattan, the appropriate location for the mid-life crisis of the twice-divorced television writer Isaac and his efforts to find love and understanding.

ACCATTONE (Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italy 1961, 10. & 17.7.) The titular protagonist Accattone drifts through the periphery of a desolate big city to the sounds of Bach's "St Matthew Passion", making ends meet as a pimp and thief – loving and dying. Accattone is inextricably linked to the drab, barren, Neorealism-evoking urban no-man's land that surrounds him, the Borgate district of Rome, where Pasolini himself lived for a while at the start of the 50s. This impressive passion play was shot with non-professional actors and became a beacon of hope for the Italian cinema of the early sixties.

MENSCHEN AM SONNTAG (Robert Siodmak, Rochus Gliese, Edgar G. Ulmer, Germany 1929/30, 12. & 25.7., with a live piano accompaniment by Eunice Martins) A precise description – type: a "reality film" inspired by the New Objectivity – one weekend in the life of five young Berliners – four bustling wanderers of Berlin and Wannsee and one homebody. This light, predominantly playful collage of documentary footage and improvised fictional scenes begins in the centre of a vibrant Berlin, registering both frenzied activity and idleness, missed chances and random meetings, before the second part of the film shifts to the summer retreat of Wannsee. The highly agile, almost "flaneur-like" camerawork (Eugen Schüfftan) oscillates between the near and the far, sympathy and irony, details and crowds.

LE PONT DU NORD (Jacques Rivette, France 1981, 16. & 18.7.) Marie (Bulle Ogier) has just been released from prison when she bumps into Baptiste (Pascale Ogier), a young woman in a leather jacket and motorcycle helmet who wanders the streets of Paris, always ready to fight stone lion monuments like a modern-day Don Quixote. The two women find a mysterious map of the city that leads them ever further into unfathomable regions. Two women in a Paris at once real and unreal, both the location of the urban upheavals of 1980 and a fantastical fairy-tale realm. An improvised, labyrinthine film consisting entirely of outdoor scenes.

MNJA DWADZAT LJET (I Am Twenty, Marlen Khutsiev, USSR 1962/65, 15. & 19.7.) A milestone in Soviet film, a key work of Thaw-Era cinema, and, last, but not least, a unique historical document of the city of Moscow and its young inhabitants. At the heart of the film are Sergei, Nikolai und Slava (each 20 years old and friends since childhood), all of whom are looking for meaning and self-determination as well as to grapple with the generation of their parents. Khutsiev creates a vision of Moscow seldom seen, alternating between the poetic, the romantic, the dynamic and the immediate, showing a young generation who only by wandering the city can take possession of both it and their own lives. 

Jerusalem, Ron Havilio, Israel 1986–1997, 20.7.: Part 1; 21.7.: Part 2; 23.7.: Parts 1 & 2) Private footage and historical photos, recollections of family members and official archive material, city planning, social historical, religious, and ethnic considerations come together to form an artistic mosaic of a city, an era, a life, and a family. Havilio’s magnum opus is six hours long, divided into seven chapters, and took 11 years of work to be completed - Havilio thus moves beyond the concept of the flaneur to become a wanderer through space and time.  

LE FRANC (Djibril Diop Mambéty, Senegal 1994, 22. & 30.7.) & LA PETITE VENDEUSE DE SOLEIL (Djibril Diop Mambéty, Senegal 1999, 22. & 30.7.) The films of Djibril Diop Mambéty are irrevocably linked to Dakar, the Senegalese capital, through which the protagonists of his films move like restless wanderers. Mambéty's camera is usually close on their heels, occasionally stepping to the side to show scenes from everyday life in the city and the peculiarities of urban space. In LA PETITE VENDEUSE..., Sili attempts to ignore her reservations and hold her own as a newspaper salesperson. In LE FRANC,Marigo has won the lottery, but can only pick up his prize if he carries the door to his house through half of Dakar, as the lottery ticket is stick to it. Sili and Marigo’s roamings through Dakar are embedded in a complex web of small vignettes, scenes, and secondary plots threads that don't just leave their mark on the rhythm of the film, but also allow the viewer to grasp Dakar.  

VIAGGIO IN ITALIA (Voyage to Italy, Roberto Rossellini, I 1954, 24. & 27.7.) Catherine and Alex Joyce, a British married couple without children head to Naples in order to sell an inherited house. This "voyage to Italy", which for Catherine (Ingrid Bergman) is also a journey into her past, leads to a profound marital crisis. Far away from home, both of them notice they've grown apart and there is talk of divorce. Exploratory walks through Naples, through its museums and ancient ruins, become an emotional tour de force for Catherine that makes a cautious rapprochement seem possible.  

COUNTING (Jem Cohen, USA 2015, 26. & 28.7.) "Jem Cohen is at once a flaneur and a street smart worker, with his film an archive of his steps – a storeroom replete with dreamlike memories" (Ansgar Vogt). New York, Moscow, Porto, St. Petersburg, andIstanbul are just a few of the cities that Cohen frequents in order to create a portrait of contemporary life as he perceives it around him at that moment. His scenes of everyday life and streets, footage of facades and light reflexes, of humans and animals solidify into a personal reflection about the hidden, the fleeting, and not least about the perception of time.

CENTRAL PARK (Frederick Wiseman, USA 1989, 29. & 31.7.) Summer in New York: In a comparatively light, cheerful tone, Wiseman creates a portrait of Central Park as an inviting location of urban vitality. With seeming casualness, he describes the broad spectrum of big city park users, shows people looking for recuperation, Sunday painters, dance groups, hobby ornithologists and dinosaur imitators, musicians and dancers, as well as gardeners and the park’s administrative staff. An homage to the green heart of the city, simultaneously a centre of attraction for classic flaneurs as well as the starting point for another flaneur of the cinematic variety. (mg)

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media