july 2018, arsenal cinema

Edit Film Culture!

From 5.-22.7., the Edit Film Culture! festival and exhibition is taking place at silent green Kulturquartier and Arsenal. It incorporates different event formats involving international experts and artists to raise questions about the conditions of film cultures today and their relevance for society. The magazine Film Culture, which was started by Jonas and Adolfas Mekas in New York in 1955, was regarded as a platform for dialogue between filmmakers and their audiences, between theory and practice, between film and art. 79 issues were published through 1996. The magazine contained interviews, historical texts, manifestos, film analyses, artists’ texts, poetry, photographic essays, and reports on the creation of independent structures for film production, distribution, and projection.

The film program places a focus on the reciprocal relationships between New York and Berlin. One person heavily involved in these was Arsenal staff member Alf Bold, who died in 1993 from the consequences of AIDS. In the early 70s, he recognized that special action needed to be taken to convey the importance of experimental film and boost its profile. In 1978, Arsenal dedicated a program to the Anthology Film Archives, saying it was “the first film museum exclusively dedicated to film as art”.

In one of the cinema’s siderooms, Alf Bold set up a small 16mm projection space, where he presented the “Avantgarde at Arsenal 2” series every Monday. Each program told its own story about cinematic forms, the developments in the medium, and the world itself.

In 1982, he headed the Collective for Living Cinema program in New York for one year. There he intensified his connections to the avant-garde and underground scene, while also expanding the Arsenal film collection around this focus. Following his death, he bequeathed an experimental film fund to Arsenal so that this work could be continued.

The program includes remakes of his programs as well as additional films from the collection. Most of the selected filmmakers wrote for Film Culture themselves or had their films reviewed there.

july 2018, arsenal cinema

Magical History Tour: Cinematic Strolls, Flaneurs in Film

Edgar Allen Poe describes the flaneur as a man amid the masses, absorbed by the city around him. Charles Baudelaire celebrates the flaneur's ability to retain his anonymity in urban space and stay an individualist. For his part, Walter Benjamin liberates the flaneur from the widely-cited tortoise metaphor, a being linked only to posing and attitude, characterizing him instead as the “central figure of the modern era”, a highly sensitive soul capable of deciphering the city, wandering the streets, and viewing the urban surroundings with the same mixture of attraction and repellence with which he himself is also seen. An archetype key to the literature of the last two centuries, the flaneur has also echoed through film history since the 1920s in a variety of different forms. In July, the Magical History Tour presents the first generation of city wanderers and those that followed them both before the camera and behind it, expanding the concept to encompass its female equivalent and bringing together ambling documentary and essayistic works – meandering strolls through urban spaces, decelerated observations and conquests of urban structures, explorations of the streets and the crowds that populate them, and reflections on the conditions of modern existence.

july 2018, arsenal cinema

Retrospective Andrei Tarkowsky

The summer Tarkovsky retrospective is a tradition that has grown dear both to us and our audiences for 30 years now. In July and August, we are showing the seven feature films and one mid-length graduation film by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky (1932–1986), whose monumental oeuvre exudes a lasting fascination.

july 2018, living archive

Gadalla Gubara

Sudanese filmmaker Gadalla Gubara (1921–2008) documented his country’s post-colonial era in over 50 documentaries, adverts, educational films, shorts, and feature following the independence of Sudan in 1956. His cinematic legacy was able to be digitized by Arsenal in collaboration with the Studio Gad archive in Khartoum in 2013 and 2016 with the help of funding from the Foreign Office’s cultural preservation program.

On June 19, six films will be shown in the presence of his daughter, including KHARTOUM (1960), a historical film about the once lively city, BATA COMPANY (1972), POLICE TRAFIC (1965), a selection of advertising films (1965–1970), SONGS OF KHARTOUM (1970) and VIVA SARA (1984), which accompanies Sara Gubara on a race between Capri to Naples as Sudan’s first international swimmer.

july 2018, arsenal cinema

„To risk everything to express it all“ – John Cassavetes

Thanks to the uncompromising nature of his oeuvre, John Cassavetes (1929-1989) is regarded as one of the founding lights of American independent filmmaking and set lasting standards with his consistent disdain for artistic restrictions. It was at a workshop for unemployed actors in 1956 that Cassavetes developed his ideas on filmmaking as a group endeavor. This produced his first film SHADOWS in turn, which was improvised and made on a tiny budget, yet opened up the doors of Hollywood to him nonetheless, although his attempts to assert his working methods and aesthetic ideas in the studio system led to disappointment. As a result, Cassavetes set up his own production company and consistently positioned himself outside the orbit of Hollywood. Working in close, steady group contexts became a central aspect of Cassavetes’s method, who preferred to work with a fixed ensemble of actors – mainly Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara, and Seymour Cassel, to say nothing of Gena Rowlands, who he married in 1954. His cinema lives from their total physical commitment to their roles and their unconditional openness to personal fears, yearnings, and insecurities, creating a cinema of intensity and of the unflinching dissection of feelings. His stories are just as incalculable, hard to grasp, and erratic, with excesses and eruptions taking the place of predictable narratives. Uninterested in crafting traditionally beautiful images, his films resist standard patterns of seeing and are entirely constructed around people, focused on their faces and bodies. Cassavetes often earned the necessary money to make his films by acting in other directors’ films. There too, he often sought out the boundaries and explored the extreme states of human behavior, often playing bad guys, while also shining in quieter roles.

We are showing all of Cassavetes’ films on 35mm prints together with a selection of his work as an actor.

arsenal cinema: 9. ALFILM – Arab Film Festival Berlin

07:00 pm Cinema 2

Al Abwab al Moghlaka

Al Abwab al Moghlaka The Closed Doors
Atef Hetata Egypt 1999
DCP OV/EnS 105 min

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

07:30 pm Cinema 1

Suna no onna

Suna no onna The Woman in the Dunes Teshigahara Hiroshi
Japan 1964 35 mm OV/GeS 147 min

arsenal cinema: 9. ALFILM – Arab Film Festival Berlin

09:00 pm Cinema 2


Palestine in Sight: Hani Jawhariya

Al-Manam The Dream Mohamad Malas Syria 1987
Digital file OV/EnS 45 min
Palestine in Sight: Hani Jawhariya Mustafa Abu Ali
Palestine 1976 Digital file OV/EnS 23 min