december 2019, arsenal cinema

Kenji Mizoguchi Retrospective

Famed for the free-flowing glide of his camera movements and the striking beauty of his visual composition; celebrated for the complexity of his minute-long plan sequences and the extraordinary care and precision with which he made landscapes, architectures, and décor into the protagonists of his films; honored both for his early, unflinching social studies as well as his moving, historical melodramas: Kenji Mizoguchi (1898–1956) is undoubtedly one of the greatest directors ever to work in Japanese cinema. He actually only became famous outside Japanese with his later works, following numerous awards at European film festivals for SAIKAKU ICHIDAI ONNA (The Life of Oharu, 1952), UGETSU MONOGATARI (Tales of the Rain and Moon, 1953), and SANSHO DAYU (Sansho the Bailiff, 1954). The possibility of gaining a more comprehensive insight into Mizoguchi’s comprehensive oeuvre – his first films are from the 20s, with his having made over 80 films as a director – thus only offered itself late on and remains only partially possible to this day, as a large part of his early works are lost. Regardless of this, the section of his oeuvre still accessible made Mizoguchi a fixed great within international film history, able to be grasped in numerous ways, zig-zagging through different genres and film studios, and making use of a wide range of formal approaches and themes.

In terms of the importance and influence of his filmmaking, Mizoguchi is often mentioned in the same breath as his directorial colleagues Yasujiro Ozu or Akira Kurosawa. Yet Mizoguchi’s films are screened comparatively rarely in cinemas. That’s why we’re all the happier to present a long overdue 22-film Mizoguchi retrospective at Arsenal with the help of funding from the Federal Capital Cultural Fund and are thus able to tap into a body of work of singular directorial, visual, and narrative richness as well as great emotional depth.

december 2019, arsenal cinema

Gerhard Friedl – Operative Film

“I feel both fascination and disgust in the face of the story of high capitalism”, wrote Gerhard Friedl in 2005 in an exposé to a film not able to be made. “At the same time, I have a desire to understand this era and form an impression of it. I don’t trust the impression I already have.” These three lines are placed at the beginning of the book recently published by Volker Pantenburg entitled “Gerhard Friedl. Ein Arbeitsbuch” (FilmmuseumSynemaPublikationen 34); they encapsulate the central aspects of his slim oeuvre: a rigorous view of the history and present of society structures is linked to the demand to use film operatively to fight against the system’s impositions and thoughtlessnesses. Friedl, born in the Steiermark in 1967, shot six films and video works between 1992 and 2009, the year of his death, two of them together with Laura Horelli. Now all of his films can be seen together in Berlin for the first time.

december 2019, distribution news

New in the arsenal distribution range

From December 12-15, arsenal distribution presents a selection of artists’ works as Berlin cinema premieres with the filmmakers in attendance: DESERT VIEW by Daniel Kötter, Constanze Fischbeck and the Barakat family (Germany 2018), Dani Gal's trilogy NACHT UND NEBEL (Israel 2011), WIE AUS DER FERNE (Germany/Austria 2013) and WHITECITY (Germany 2018) as well as his FIELDS OF NEUTRALITY (THE LAST INTERVIEW WiTH LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE) (Germany 2019), parts 4-6 of Minze Tummescheit and Arne Hector's longitudinal project IN ARBEIT (Germany 2007-2017), Katrin Pesch's EDGEWOOD (USA 2019) and FINDING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO FIND (USA 2016) and last but not least RASENDES GRÜN MIT PFERDEN by Ute Aurand (Germany 2019).

december 2019, arsenal cinema

Magical History Tour - Bodies in Film

Since cinema began, part of the fascination of the moving image has stemmed from the way in which the bodies of the people acting on the screen are represented: it’s no coincidence that the first ever film footage shows contented workers, men exercising or boisterous children. It wasn't long until Méliès extended these short documentary scenes by adding cinematic (corporeal) experiments of a fantastical or even drastic nature: images of elegant dancers that disappear as if by magic, images of headless skeletons on the prowl or heads that inflate like balloons and explode. With these two poles as a starting point, the staging of bodies (and body parts) in film went on to become a fundamental means of cinematic expression whose diverse manifestations have had a substantial effect on how we think about human physiology.

This month's Magical History Tour presents notable images of the body from 90 years of film history, showing the special physical presence exuded by bodies of longing, objects of projection, foreign or collective bodies, the re-animated and corporeal hybrids.

arsenal cinema: The DEFA Foundation presents

07:00 pm Cinema 2


DEFA-Kinobox 1988/61

Ein junger Mann namens Engels – Ein Porträt in Briefen

Lieber Mohr – Persönliche Erinnerungen an Karl Marx von Paul Lafargue


Liebesbriefe Uwe Belz GDR 1982 35 mm 21 min
DEFA-Kinobox 1988/61 (Marx-Familie, 1. Sujet) Helke Misselwitz GDR 1988 35 mm 6 min
Ein junger Mann namens Engels – Ein Porträt in Briefen
Klaus Georgi, Katja Georgi, Fjodor Hidruk, W. Kurtschewsky GDR 1970 DCP 20 min
Lieber Mohr – Persönliche Erinnerungen an Karl Marx von Paul Lafargue
Bruno J. Böttge, Jörg Herrmann GDR 1972 DCP 22 min
Fotografien Peter Voigt GDR 1983 35 mm 20 min

Introduced by Detlef Kannapin
arsenal cinema: Tribute to István Szabó

08:00 pm Cinema 1


Apa Vater István Szabó Hungary 1967
With András Bálint, Miklós Gábor
Restored version
35 mm OV/EnS 98 min

arsenal cinema: The DEFA Foundation presents

09:00 pm Cinema 2

Mohr und die Raben von London

Mohr und die Raben von London Helmut Dziuba GDR 1968
35 mm 95 min

Introduced by Detlef Kannapin