april 2018, arsenal cinema

Ruth Beckermann Program

Ruth Beckermann has been making documentaries for 40 years. Her name stands for a political cinema that explores Austria, Judaism, questions of individual background and collective identity, as well as their fractures and ambivalences, on the basis of precise observation. The Nazi era, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and migration are subjects in all of her works. From a trilogy of films about Jewish life (WIEN RETOUR, DIE PAPIERENE BRÜCKE, NACH JERUSALEM) to her first and only feature film so far, DIE GETRÄUMTEN, and her current film WALDHEIMS WALZER, for which she won the Berlinale’s Documentary Award, Beckermann’s multi-layered oeuvre has been characterized by multi-faceted passages between the present and the past. Her examination of history always takes place alongside present constellations. A journey usually underlies her films, movement is their constitutive moment: the movement of a journey, quest, thought process. Beckermann does not seek to find a closed narrative form, but is consistently open to various approaches, with her film practice becoming freer and more essayistic over the years. She transmits her always personal perspective as an off-screen narrator and commentator; her documentary work is distinguished by the presence of her unmistakeable voice with its tinge of Viennese.

From April 19-27, Arsenal is presenting a program of 11 feature-length documentaries made by Ruth Beckermann between 1983 and 2018. We are very pleased to welcome the filmmaker for a series of Q&As from 19th to 21st April thanks to the support of the Austrian Cultural Forum. A book about Beckermann’s oeuvre published in 2016 (by Alexander Horwath and Michael Omasta) will be on sale at the box office.

april 2018, arsenal cinema

Magical History Tour: Land in sight – landscapes in film

One cannot imagine film without landscapes. The scenery is as variegated as the potential and functions of these topographies are comprehensive and diverse: Landscapes in films tell stories, express moods, can play the lead, become psychic landscapes or places of longing. They are symbolic foils, islands of stasis within the frequently breakneck flow of the plot. Landscapes are "the freest element of film, the least burdened with servile, narrative tasks, and the most flexible in conveying moods, emotional states, and spiritual experiences" (Sergei Eisenstein). Since the beginning of cinematography, film has made prolific use of this mutable vehicle for conveying ideas: Early screen images of both exotic foreign locations and the native countryside quickly merged into genre films with an intensive use of landscapes. And yet even outside of this genre, a broad panorama of landscapes has opened up in the areas of documentary, fiction, and experimental filmmaking which we shall examine in 12 films in April.

april 2018, berlinale forum

Cinema Release: "Spell Reel"

In 2011, an archive of film and audio material re-emerged in Guinea-Bissau that documented the liberation struggle against the colonial power Portugal (1963 - ’74). SPELL REEL (Germany/Portugal 2017) by Filipa César is the result of a multi-layered research and digitalization project in cooperation with the Guinean filmmakers and liberation fighters Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes. After studying film in Cuba in the early 1960s, the two began using the camera as an observer. The material that was found again was digitalized by Arsenal, to then be screened in various places, commented, discussed and newly imagined. An itinerant, transnational cinema has made the archive into a place between remote villages in Guinea-Bissau and European capitals, where people search for alternatives to a world in upheaval.

SPELL REEL, which premiered as part of the Forum 2017, opens April 12 in the cinemas. We will be previewing it at Arsenal on April 10th in the presence of the director and other guests. We will present other film materials and there will also be a Q&A. There will be further screenings at Neukölln’s Wolf Kino on 11.4 and on 13.4 in Wedding’s Archive Kabinett where the book “Luta ca caba inda. Time Place Matter Voice. 1967–2017” will also be presented.

arsenal cinema: Magical History Tour: Land in sight – landscapes in film

08:00 pm Cinema 2


Kurische Nehrung

Kurische Nehrung Volker Koepp Germany 2000
35 mm 92 min

arsenal cinema: Time and memory: The cinema of Terence Davies

08:00 pm Cinema 1


Distant Voices, Still Lives

*Distant Voices, Still Lives UK1988
35 mm OV/GeS 85 min

Terence Davies in person