june 2018, arsenal cinema

Anna May Wong – Star, Icon, Boundary Breaker

Anna May Wong (born Wong Liu Tsong, 1905 – 1961) first arrived in Berlin almost 90 years ago to the month. It was April 1928 and the first Chinese-American movie star, who was already acclaimed internationally, had great expectations. She was glamorous, extremely beautiful and oozing with sex appeal. Her success had not changed the fact that in view of the Chinese-American population being largely excluded politically, socially and economically, she was often cast in (supporting) roles that promoted stereotypical ideas of the “exotic”. She would “joke” about the thousand deaths she had died during her film career, playing meek housemaids or calculating servants, women prepared to sacrifice themselves to their lovers or evil femme fatales, but always trying to bring dignity and elegance to the part. Main roles were rare, as were romances with happy endings. From the late 1920s, Wong travelled to Europe several times to find other opportunities for developing her artistic talents. She wooed the cinema audiences and artistic and cultural scenes of Berlin, London and Paris with her grace and elegance, her unstoppable energy and calculated coolness and her acting skills that allowed her to go from the erotic to the unscrupulous with such ease. Nonetheless, she never really fulfilled her hopes to escape the norms, stereotypes and roles of Hollywood.

Despite the contemporary audiences’ enthusiasm and the global coverage of Anna May Wong’s films, her trips to China and her campaign to promote a better understanding of Chinese culture in the US and in Europe, apart from THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1925) and SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932), films featuring her have rarely been shown in Germany. Our program comprises 12 films, including a documentary, and illustrates Wong’s career in adverse political conditions, paying tribute to an extraordinary actress who broke boundaries and acted as a mediator between continents and cultures.

june 2018, arsenal cinema

“it is the present, the present of the past” – Films by Ingo Kratisch and Jutta Sartory

“A woman becomes aware that she lacks understanding and sets off on a trip that brings her to New York. From here, she goes west and crosses the continent. Constantly on the move and alternating between early sympathies and later rejection, her European illusions yield to concrete American parameters. The subjective experience of the first journey continues in the second part as a search for the country’s structure in analytical form. Roads, buildings, bridges, landscape, cities and traffic create a model that unlocks the country’s reality.” (Jutta Sartory)

DIE BELEIDIGUNG AMERICAS IM WINTER 1977/78 (The Insult of America in the Winter of 1977/78), which was shot on Super-8 and blown up to 16mm, opens our retrospective of films by Ingo Kratisch and Jutta Sartory on June 14. For many in West Berlin, New York seemed much closer than the rest of West Germany. It was easy to just get on a plane and escape to another world without having to go through the hassle of crossing borders and taking the transit road. So a poetic film about America became a film about West Berlin and thus about West Germany, about the relationship between imagination and reality, proximity and distance, past and present. Ingo Kratisch and Jutta Sartory have been making films together since 1979. The city of Berlin, divided into East and West and before and after, forms the principle of construction for most of their films. They present a world that doesn’t follow a known narrative and yet is full of moments of recognition. In this way, they give the past a face in a fictionalized present, pointing to the real in the imagination. Their point of view is poetry, their point of reference is social and objective reality.

june 2018, berlinale forum

The Arsenal Board of Directors to Take On the Interim Leadership of the 2019 Forum

The board of directors of Arsenal, which consists of Milena Gregor, Birgit Kohler and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, is to take on the interim leadership of the 2019 Forum. With the support of the long-standing team, the three of them will carry out the leadership tasks for the 2019 Forum and thus also further emphasise the constitutive connection between Arsenal and the Forum.

june 2018, arsenal cinema

Magical History Tour – Light in Film

In the beginning, there was light – a concept inextricably linked to cinema. The projection beam passes through the film strip and the lens, makes its way through the glass pane of the projection room and into the auditorium, hitting the screen at the speed of light as the film begins. The radiant glow of a high-wattage projection bulb is like a shimmering echo of the fundamental subject of film and cinema: light. It’s impossible to even shoot a film without daylight or artificial light, key or fill lighting, soft light or floodlights, to say nothing of the work of the camera and lighting team who design the lighting and position it on set. Lighting forms an essential artistic resource for the director, capable of telling stories or affecting how they are told, creating moods and unleashing different emotions. The 12 films showing in the Magical Mystery Tour in June give an idea of the huge diversity of working methods and effects linked to both light (and shadow).

june 2018, arsenal cinema

Vaginal Davis Presents Contemporary Vinegar Syndrome

Vaginal Davis is back! Our film archaeologist is returning with a brand new program! Vinegar syndrome (with its strong smell) is the name given to the degradation of film caused by the chemical reaction of cellulose triacetate meeting humidity (this can be observed at the terrarium at the MARS restaurant). But is that all? Or are there other theories linked to the vinegar syndrome that are still to be discovered? Along with Daniel Hendrickson, Ms. Davis will examine the cause and effect of aging processes in many parts of the city. The first edition will take place in the Fichte-Bunker. NB: You need to have Arsenal membership to attend. You can get this from the cinema or at the bunker (Fichtestrasse 6) itself on the evening. If you want to help save other films from succumbing to vinegar syndrome, you can do this by becoming a member of arsenal freundeskreis. (27., 28. & 29.6.)

june 2018, berlinale forum

Cinema release: "El mar la mar"

arsenal distribution is releasing EL MAR LA MAR by Joshua Bonnetta and J.P. Sniadecki from June 7, accompanied by the Caligari Award tour. The film, a cinematographic exploration of the Sonora desert between Mexico and the United States, premiered as part of the 2017 Forum, where it received the Caligari Award. It masterfully weaves together 16 mm shots of nature and weather phenomena, animals, people and the tracks they leave behind with a polyphonic soundtrack, creating a multi-faceted panorama of a highly politicised stretch of land, a film poem that conjures up the ocean.


june 2018, transfer

Next Projection Room Tour on June 30

picture of projection room at Arsenal

What do 16mm, 35mm and 70mm actually mean? What is screen masking and what is it used for? How does a dissolve work? And what is actually happening when the image on the screen stops moving and begins to melt? If you’re interested in finding out how films get on to the screen, Arsenal would like to invite you to take a peek behind the scenes on one of our projection room tours. Our projectionist Bodo Pagels will show you round the projection room, tell you all about film formats, projectors and projection techniques, demonstrate how films are fed into the projector and provide a full introduction to the secrets of film projection. He will also be happy to answer any questions you might have about the cinema set-up and will adapt the tour to your wishes and interests as far as possible. The next scheduled tour will take place on Saturday June 30, at 4pm. Please register in advance. 

arsenal cinema: Magical History Tour – 
Two become one

07:30 pm Cinema 2

Zur Sache, Schätzchen

Zur Sache, Schätzchen May Spils FRG 1968
With Werner Enke, Uschi Glas, Henry van Lyck
35 mm German OV 80 min

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

08:00 pm Cinema 1

A Quiet Passion

A Quiet Passion UK/Belgium 2016
With Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle
DCP OV/GeS 124 min