december 2021, arsenal cinema

The Depths of the Uncanny - Films by Dario Argento and David Lynch

Horror and beauty, dark abysses and rooms of shimmering color, destructive violence and sensual visual discoveries: such seeming oppositions become inextricably linked in the cinematic worlds of Dario Argento (*1940) and David Lynch (*1946). The works of both directors plumb the unfathomable depths of the human psyche, finding piercing, universal images for individual traumas, obsessions, and states of mental emergency that are at once disturbing and touching.

Both Argento and Lynch use the specific expressive possibilities of film—color, light, camera movement, music, editing—to create works that only fully reveal their all-enveloping quality in their original analogue format and in the cinema auditorium. This program curated by Gary Vanasian places selected films by both artists into a dialogue. Bringing together ten of Dario Argento’s films, this is the most comprehensive retrospective of his oeuvre to be presented in Germany.

december 2021, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3: 
Works that Correspond with Dario Argento and David Lynch

To expand on our main program in December, we are showing two features and six shorter works that correspond with the oeuvres of directors Dario Argento and David Lynch on our streaming platform arsenal 3.

The oeuvres of both stand in the tradition of experimental and surrealist cinema. Some of the stylistic techniques used prominently in their work (such as fetishizing close-ups blown up to an unreal degree or visual distortions) can already be found in the cinema of the 20s and 40s. Hans Richter’s FILMSTUDIE (Germany 1926) contrasts surfaces, lines, and abstract forms with similar objects from real-life, such as an eye-ball or a head. In VORMITTAGSSPUK (Germany 1928), everyday objects rebel against people and daily routine. Maya Deren’s masterpiece MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON (USA 1943) creates its uncanny atmosphere via a subjective camera that strides though space, an essential stylistic device for the horror film by the 70s at the very latest. Detail shots of a knife anticipate one typical visual motif of the giallo genre. In FACE I AND II (West Germany 1969), Ludwig Schönherr makes a visual identity dissolve via opposing individual frames of the face of Beatrice "Trixie" Cordua. WHICH IS WITCH (Marie Losier, France 2020) shows three witch sisters in a colorful and surreal fairy tale. DARK ADAPTATION (Canada 2016) by Chris Gehman creates unique visual impressions via experiments with color and optical techniques. The feature NIGHT PASSAGE (Trinh T. Minh-ha, USA 2004) is the story of three friends who set off on a spiritual journey into the realm between life and death and arrive in sensorial landscapes of dream. Finally, we are showing—as the only work of this selection that doesn’t form part of arsenal distribution’s range—Mariano Baino’s visual impressive feature DARK WATERS (United Kingdom, Ukraine, Italy 1993), which is pervaded by experimental images and enjoys cult status today as one of the last great Italian horror films before this defining era in Italian film history came to an end.

december 2021, arsenal cinema

16. Forum Expanded

The 17th Forum Expanded program is currently being put together, but the 16th edition is not yet fully over. Two films unable to be screened during the summer special due to their length are now being shown with their filmmakers in attendance on December 12 and 18: SABA’ SANAWAT HAWL DELTA AL-NEEL (Seven Years Around the Nile Delta, Egypt 2020, 12.12.) by Sharief Zohairy and BLACK BACH ARTSAKH (Armenia/USA 2021, 18.12.) by Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri.

december 2021, arsenal cinema

Ozu in Color – Yasujiro Ozu’s Late Work

Many people think of calm, precisely composed still lifes in nuanced black and white in relation to the films of Yasujiro Ozu (1903–1963), one of Japan’s most famous directors. Others make reference to the moving, universal themes of his films, which Ozu sometimes develops with silent precision and at others with ironic humor: generational conflicts, changing times, farewells, grief, loneliness. When it comes to the specifics of Ozu’s oeuvre, the focus is seldom on color, however unfairly, which he only turned to late on and with a certain degree of hesitation. Looking at Ozu’s color films and thus the last phase of his career reveals an important addition to his cinematic vocabulary, a stylistic device that he doesn’t just use to underline and comment on occurrences and moods, but also to reveal that melancholy itself carries a particular hue. (December 21-30)

arsenal cinema: Female Artists’ Program

01:00 pm Cinema 1

Rote Sterne überm Feld

Rick (AT)

Rote Sterne überm Feld Laura Laabs
Work in progress, Teaser 15 min
Rick (AT) Nathalie Steinbart
Work in progress, Teaser/Reading 30 min

Followed by a discussion with the filmmakers
Free admission
arsenal cinema: Female Artists’ Program

03:00 pm Cinema 1

Verlorene Formen


Schwer Sein

Verlorene Formen Anna Faroqhi/Haim Peretz
D 2019 Digital file 15 min
Amygdala Neda Ahmadi Work in progress 20 min
Schwer Sein Julia Monika Müller
Germany 2021 Digital file OV/EnS 23 min

Followed by a discussion with the filmmakers
Free admission
arsenal cinema: Female Artists’ Program

05:00 pm Cinema 1

Possessions (AT)

The A-Team


Possessions (AT) Talin Seigmann Work in progress 10 min
The A-Team Nnenna Onuoha Work in progress 20 min
SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA Malve Lippmann/ Esra Akkaya Lecture and Trailer 20 min

Followed by a discussion with the filmmakers/curators
Free admission
arsenal cinema: „The gatekeepers exist to be overthrown.“ 
Amos Vogel – Repeats and Responses (II)

07:00 pm Cinema 1

13 Confusions: Subverting the Subversion

13 Confusions: Subverting the Subversion
Kariokineza Karyokinesis Zlatko Hajdler Yugoslawia 1965 Digital file silent 4 min
Odds & Ends Jane Conger Belson Shimané USA 1959 16 mm OV 3 min
Termiti Termites Milan Šamec Yugoslawia 1963 DCP without dialogue 2 min
Schmeerguntz Gunvor Nelson, Dorothy Wiley USA 1966 16 mm OV 15 min
*Water Sark Joyce Wieland Canada 1965 16 mm OV 14 min
Sobovi, dragi sobovi Reindeers, Dear Reindeers
Ljubiša Grlić Jugoslawien 1963 Digital file OV 3min
Au-delà du déclic Maurice Lemaître France 1965 16 mm OV 10 min
16/67 20. September Kurt Kren Austria 1967 16 mm silent 7 min
Do posljednje kapi Until the Last Drop
Tatjana Ivančić Yugoslawia 1972 DCP without dialogue 2 min

Introduced by Petra Belc
arsenal cinema: „The gatekeepers exist to be overthrown.“ 
Amos Vogel – Repeats and Responses (II)

09:00 pm Cinema 1

The European Knokke ’67 and some deviations

The European Knokke ’67 and some deviations
Bodybuilding Ernst Schmidt Jr. Austria 1966
16 mm silent 9 min
No compteu amb els dits Don’t Count on Your Fingers
Pere Portabella Spain 1967 DCP OV/EnS 26 min
*Markeneier Lutz Mommartz FRG 1967 16 mm 5 min
Soliloquy Stephen Dwoskin UK 1967 Digital file OV 9min
Il mostro verde Tonino De Bernardi, Paolo Menzio
Italy 1967 Digital file OV 28 min

Introduced by Miguel Fernández Labayen, John Sundholm