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

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.

december 2019, living archive

Vaginal Davis: Christmas Special

For their Christmas special on December 18, archivists Vaginal Davis und Daniel Hendrickson, who are otherwise on the trail of Contemporary Vinegar Syndrome at different locations in the city, return to Arsenal. They are presenting DIVA by Jean-Jacques Beineix, the 1981 cult film. Jules is a postman, opera lover, and a fan of the world-famous diva Cynthia Hawkins. During a concert by the singer, he secretly makes a recording of the performance. When the tape gets confused for another, he ends up in unexpected difficulties. “DIVA is without doubt one of the most important European films of the early 80s: stylistically polished to the point of being mannered, this thriller full of quotes and references catapulted French cinema into the present and combined fairy tale elements, film noir lifts, and the neon-blue pop aesthetic of the New Wave to create a total art work that set new standards.” (J. Kurz)

Free entry for members, membership can be obtained at the box office.

december 2019, living archive

Filmmakers’ Choice in December

As every year, presented by Maike Mia Höhne on December 21: "The shortest day of the year – the International Short Film Day. The distance to the summer is as large as it can be. I’d like to know nothing about the films, but certainly to know the filmmakers. Taking the synopses of the films or just the titles as a starting point – a program about questions of autonomy and radii of movement. Of freedom and fighting. Film about collectives, Courtney Love, Kathrin Power, Mary Mac Lane. Subversive, hybrid, media political strategies are used to introduce and accompany necessary changes. Three women in Berlin create a radio disturbance channel to create awareness of how people talk about women. The most important phase in the founding of trade unions by women is accompanied by the Yugatar Collective. How does the new utopia work when utopia has failed, asks Liza Johnson. The women re-mirrored by the subjective gazes at what is theirs, the body, and lust. Becoming a woman like forgetting, showing repetition like the red card."

arsenal cinema: Ula Stöckl Retrospective

07:00 pm Cinema 1

Den Vätern vertrauen, gegen alle Erfahrung

Rede nur niemand von Schicksal

Das alte Lied

*Den Vätern vertrauen, gegen alle Erfahrung Ula Stöckl
FRG 1982 With Grischa Huber 16 mm 30 min
Ula Stöckl in person, Moderated by Saskia Walker
*Rede nur niemand von Schicksal Ula Stöckl Germany 1992
With Grischa Huber 35 mm 9 min
Das alte Lied Ula Stöckl Germany 1992
With Lotte Meyer, Jeanne Richter 35 mm 82 min

Ula Stöckl in person, Moderated by Jeanne Richter
arsenal cinema: Magical History Tour
 – Lost Films Found

08:00 pm Cinema 2


*Komissar The Commissar
Alexandr Askoldov USSR 1967/87
35 mm OV/EnS 107 min