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: AFRIKAMERA 2021: 
Urban Africa, Urban Movies – Youth & Youth Culture

04:00 pm Cinema 1


Buddha in Africa

Buddha in Africa Nicole Schafer
South Africa/Sweden 2019 DCP OV/EnS 90 min

arsenal cinema: AFRIKAMERA 2021: 
Urban Africa, Urban Movies – Youth & Youth Culture

06:00 pm Cinema 1


The Letter

The Letter Maia Lekow, Christopher King
Kenya 2019 DCP OV/EnS 81 min

arsenal cinema: AFRIKAMERA 2021: 
Urban Africa, Urban Movies – Youth & Youth Culture

08:00 pm Cinema 1


La nuit des rois

La nuit des rois Night of the Kings Philippe Lacôte
Côte d'Ivoire/Senegal/F/Canada 2020 DCP OV/EnS 93 min

Actor Gbazy Yves Landry in person
arsenal cinema: AFRIKAMERA 2021: 
Urban Africa, Urban Movies – Youth & Youth Culture

10:00 pm Cinema 1


Cairo Jazzman – The Groove of a Megacity

Cairo Jazzman – The Groove of a Megacity
Atef Ben Bouzid Egypt/Germany 2017
DCP OV/EnS 82 min

Atef Ben Bouzid in person