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The program of our virtual cinema www.arsenal-3-berlin.de makes direct reference to the activities carried out by our institution: the program of the Arsenal 1 & 2 cinemas , the titles that form part of our arsenal distribution range, or our Living Archive archival practice, which is rooted in both participation and production.

In January we will show two programs: the films by Philip Scheffner and program dealing with the the National Film Institute of Guinea-Bissau (INCA – Instituto Nacional de Cinema e Audiovisual). 

Philip Scheffner Retrospective

Since 2007, Philip Scheffner has made five longer films in collaboration with Merle Kröger, all of which premiered at the Berlinale Forum. Based on in-depth research, these films address the issues of borders and the exclusion of people, consistently reflecting on the conditions of film- and image-making as well as questions of representation, power dynamics and hierarchies. Scheffner’s films open up realms of thought and perception in which visibility and invisibility are redistributed. As part of the retrospective on arsenal 3, an online discussion will be held with Philip Scheffner.

A/C (D 2003, OV/EnS, 42 min)
A/C is a reinterpretation of Philip Scheffner’s CD of the same name, an experimental video shot between 1996-2001 in Bombay and Berlin. Against the noise of the city and the sounds of the video camera, the film intersperses an angry monologue during a traffic jam, an interview with screenwriter Urmi Juvekar about Bombay’s unofficial anthem, “Bombay Meri Jaan,” as well as excerpts from C.I.D., the film in which the song is sung.

THE HALFMOON FILES (D 2007, OV/EnS, 87 min)
Based on WWI-era images and audio recordings of Indian and North African prisoners of war in the “Halbmondlager“ (Halfmoon Camp) in Wünsdorf near Berlin, Philip Scheffner follows the voices to the place where they were recorded to create a multi-layered examination of how the military, science and the entertainment industry are intertwined. In his experimental search for clues, he uncovers images and sounds in which the ghosts of the past come to life.

DAY OF THE SPARROW is a political wildlife film. It centers around a country where the border between war and peace fades. On November 14, 2005, a sparrow is shot dead in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, after it toppled over 23,000 domino stones. A German soldier dies in Kabul as a result of a suicide bombing. With these headlines appearing side by side, Philip Scheffner is induced to use ornithological methods in his quest for the war. In Germany, not in Afghanistan. Since it is here that we are faced with the question: Are we living in a state of peace or war?

REVISION (D 2012, OV/EnS, 106 min)
In June 1992, hunters in a field in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania shot and killed two Romanian citizens who were trying to cross the EU’s outer border. The hunters claimed to have mistaken the people for wild boars, and their trial ended in acquittals. Nearly 20 years later, Philip Scheffner puts the case under cinematic revision, linking places, people and memories to weave a fragile web of versions and perspectives on a “European story.”

HAVARIE (D 2016, OV/EnS, 93 min)
On 14.09.2012 at 2:56 pm, the cruise liner „Adventure of the Seas” reports to the Spanish Maritime Rescue Centre the sighting of a dinghy adrift with 13 persons on board. From a YouTube clip, arching over the total duration of the film and biographical scenes evolves a choreography reflecting the past, present and future of the voyagers on the Mediterranean.

AND-EK GHES (Co-Director: Colorado Velcu, D 2016, OV/EnS, 94 min)
AND-EK GHES... is the continuation of an extraordinary collaboration between co-directors Philip Scheffner and Colorado Velcu, which began with their work on the film REVISION. After their move to Berlin, the Velcu family portrays themselves in their new life, including a title song in Bollywood style.

From the Archive of INCA – Instituto Nacional de Cinema e Audiovisual

The National Film Institute of Guinea-Bissau (INCA – Instituto Nacional de Cinema e Audiovisual) is home to important documentary  material from the period of the country’s struggle for liberation (1963–1974) and first years of independence. There are also foreign film productions there which reflect the geopolitical relationships of solidarity with other countries in the 1970s.

The historical film material from the period of militant cinema in Guinea-Bissau was almost completely destroyed in the civil war of 1998/99. Only a small part of this material survived this destruction. Poor storage conditions lead to the quickly advancing decay of the film material caused by vinegar syndrome. As part of the "Animated Archive" project, the film holdings were able to be digitised with the support of the German Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation program. Since then, several projects and events were dedicated to the revision and historical contextualisation of the archive material.

In the next months, an online streaming platform will be realised within the framework of “Archive außer sich” that aims at facilitating a broader access for researchers to the archive material. The platform will be part of Mediateca Onshore (https://mediateca-onshore.org), a nomadic arts and culture platform in Guinea Bissau hosting workshops and productions in the fields of film, performance, archival practices, agro-ecology and traditional knowledge as a contribution to social, economical and environmental justice.

The main part of the archive holdings consist of unedited image and sound footage. The artist and filmmaker Filipa César made a selection of a few clips for the January arsenal 3 program. The footage documents a visit of Luís Cabral in East Berlin in 1976.

O REGRESSO DE AMÍLCAR CABRAL by Sana na N'Hada, José Bolama, Josefina Crato, Djalma Fettermann and Flora Gomes (1976) is one of the few finished films that survived in the archive. The film documents the transferral of the remains of Amílcar Cabral from Conakry to Bissau in 1976. According to Sana na N‘Hada, the original aim of the film was to call upon the Guinean diaspora to come back to the newly liberated nation.

SPELL REEL by Filipa César (2017) is the result of a multifaceted research project that she initiated in 2011 with Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes. After the archival film material was digitised in Berlin, the filmmakers travelled with a mobile cinema to the places where the footage had originally been shot and showed it to audiences for the first time, adding their own commentary. They then moved on, also returning to Berlin. SPELL REEL watches an archive at work to produce the present.

arsenal 3 is available for a monthly fee of 11€. Information and registration here.

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media