february 2021, berlinale forum

The Forum Programme Is Now Online

The Forum und Forum Expanded programmes will be shown for members of the film industry during the European Film Market (March 1–5) and will be screened in cinemas for the public from June 10–20, 2021. All information on the films and installations is now online and can be found here for the Forum and here for the Forum Expanded.

february 2021, berlinale forum

51st Berlinale Forum: Slaloming between Fiction and Documentary

Work, love, friendship, cinema: today, all these things have to be managed very differently than a year ago. The certainties we were still able to rely on in autumn 2019 have become porous. In other parts of the world where such uncertainties are part of everyday life, people may well be more practised in dealing with them. In a Western Europe geared to planning and feasibility, we still need to get used to a situation reminiscent of an agility workshop on a permanent loop. Whoever manages to shoot and finish a film under these conditions deserves great respect.

The 17-film selection that makes up the 51st Berlinale Forum focuses on works that deal with uncertainties in the world outside by embracing unpredictability in their plots and structures. It gives preference to the fragile over the proven, with more space dedicated to filmmakers at the start of their careers than their more established colleagues.

february 2021, berlinale forum

16th Forum Expanded: The Days Float Through My Eyes

The sudden coincidence of stagnation and change which we are currently experiencing has changed our idea of time and space—and thus also cinema. This affects both how the selected works will be seen as well as this year’s festival format, which is split into two and takes place on the Internet, inside and outside. The Forum Expanded film selection consists of four short film programmes, one medium-length film and two feature-length films, with a total of 18 films to be shown in March. Eight installations will also be shown in June.

This represents an experiment for Forum Expanded, which is organised by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art and is positioning itself at the place where cinema meets other areas of art and society for the 16th time. This year’s title "The Days Float Through My Eyes" is taken from the song "Changes" by David Bowie. Upon its release 50 years ago, it was referring to his image as a musician, which wasn’t changing at the same tempo as his shifting identity. Since last year, artists and filmmakers worldwide have been slowed down so much that their very existence is under threat in many cases. Even if the programme of the 16th Forum Expanded is also smaller than usual due to the pandemic, we would still like to declare our solidarity with them all.

february 2021, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 in February: Birgit Hein

In February, the arsenal 3 streaming platform will present a retrospective of films from Birgit Hein for streaming. Experimental, political, private: in retrospect, these terms can perhaps be applied to the entire spectrum of “independent” cinema. Birgit Hein’s work, created together with then-husband Wilhelm Hein until their separation in 1989, reveals however the friction behind these terms, as well as the moments of differentiation that were necessary in order to explore positions that today seem to have disappeared completely.


Through her books and writings, Birgit Hein has created needed connections between theory and practice, between history and the present. Her movement from visual art to films experimenting with materiality, the showing of films and the fluid transition into performance, her autobiographical work involving the body—all of these are points within the same discourse: how are the interior and the exterior connected? Where exactly is the dividing line between the two and what does it consist of; in what forms are they conveyed, and how can all this be made tangible?


Birgit Hein was born in Berlin in 1942. From 1962 to 1968, she studied art history in Cologne while Wilhelm Hein studied sociology. Together, they bought a secondhand Bolex camera. What mattered to them were not the technical possibilities of depiction, but this new, different way of addressing the image itself. The challenge "film as art" was in fact a demand to regard “film as film and thus as art.” It was not a matter of more images, but of different ones, and to this end the film image first had to be destroyed. Experimental film was understood as a political issue. This necessarily included representation as well, and in 1968 she co-founded the XSCREEN Cologne Studio for Independent Film.


In 1971, Birgit Hein published “Film im Underground,” the first German book on avant-garde film, and in 1977, she and Wilhelm Hein jointly directed the experimental film section at documenta 6. Their films have been shown at numerous festivals and retrospectives around the world. From 1990 to 2008, Birgit Hein was a professor of film and video at the Braunschweig University of Art.


As part of the showcase on arsenal 3, an online discussion will be held with Birgit Hein at 6 p.m. on February 14, moderated by Marc Siegel. (Link to come)

february 2021, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 in February: KYA HUA IS SHAHAR KO?

The program of our virtual cinema arsenal 3 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."


A pioneering political work of contemporary relevance: Communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in 1984 forms the starting point for this film, whose complexity lends it immense political force. The film’s historical perspective is provided by a thorough commentary, which gives the camera’s particular presence the necessary depth and complexity. The mechanisms of political power struggles, the dynamics among those that hold power, and the instrumentalisation of economic relations and urban poverty make for a striking analysis, uniquely anticipating the subsequent development of communalist conflicts and the politics of marginalisation. The immediacy achieved by filming just as violence is unfolding juxtaposed with calm observations of the devastating consequences of living one’s life during a state of emergency, thus reaching a level of respectful lyricism and contemplation that make the film much more than just a worthy reportage.

KYA HUA IS SHAHAR KO? is being digitalised, restored and screened again for the first time in 27 years as part of the ”Living Archive” project. A DVD including additional historical and contemporary material is due for release in June 2013." (Nicole Wolf)

february 2021, edition

Arsenal Publishes Three Works on the Films of Med Hondo with Archive Books

The release of three publications on the work of filmmaker Med Hondo, who died in March 2019, marks the conclusion of the exhibition, festival and book project “Cours, cours, camarade, le vieux monde est derrière toi – Run, comrade, run, the old world is behind you – The Cinema of Med Hondo,” organized by Arsenal and curated by Enoka Ayemba, Marie-Hélène Gutberlet and Brigitta Kuster.

The two books and an e-publication, comprising an integral part of the overall project, are based on and expand upon a variety of events held at Arsenal, Archive Kabinett, SAVVY Contemporary and the silent green Kulturquartier in August 2017. These three publications bring together different perspectives on Med Hondo’s work and include a series of interviews with the filmmaker that have been translated into English for the first time.

Over the course of his long career, Med Hondo not only created films that address decolonization and the history of the African diaspora, developing new artistic means for doing so. He was also equally successful in developing alternatives to European and American production and distribution structures.


january 2021, berlinale forum

The Berlinale Forum and Forum Expanded and the Two Stages of the Berlinale

Organised by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, the Berlinale Forum and Forum Expanded are the independent sections of the Berlinale.

After the Corona pandemic made the original plan of organising an in-person festival in February impossible, the Berlinale is now taking place in two stages: firstly as a digital event from March 1st to 5th, which is aimed at an industry audience with the exception of a few public panel events to be held online. In June, Berlinale audiences will then have the opportunity to see the Berlinale selection in cinemas and at open-air screenings.


arsenal cinema: FU Lecture Series: Film Studies, the Archive, and Difference

05:00 pm Cinema 2

Vorlesung von Sabine Nessel: Frauen und Film

Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit – Redupers

Lecture by Sabine Nessel: Frauen und Film
18.00: *Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit – Redupers
Helke Sander FRG 1978 35 mm OV/EnS 98 min

arsenal cinema: Magical History Tour – The Kammerspielfilm

08:00 pm Cinema 2

Das Versteck

*Das Versteck Frank Beyer
GDR 1978 With Jutta Hoffmann, Manfred Krug
35 mm 98 min

arsenal cinema: Frank Capra Retrospective

08:00 pm Cinema 1

Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon USA 1937
With Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton
35 mm OV 132 min

Introduced by Lukas Foerster