april 2018, living archive

This Month's Filmmakers’ Choice

The next edition of Filmmakers' Choice is presented by Jen Liu on April 23: We Have To Learn How To Enjoy The Beauty Of Life – Beauty seems fatuous, manufactured with suspect intentions. It seems more shrewd to become close friends with bleakness. But in combination, can beauty and bleakness generate more complex reflections?

A clue is in the title of this program, a quote from THE SHOE (1986). The teacher demands beauty, insisting that white chalk is red or blue, and that rainbow drawings can be made with broken pencils. The insistence on nonexistent beauty generates beauty in the effort to suspend belief.All these works include such suspensions. In XÉNOGÉNÈSE (1982), a man in suit and tie navigates scraped lines amidst trash. IMAGES OF A CENTER (2005) speaks of such a utopian social order, that off-screen realities are brought deeper into relief. And in YUMEN (2013), the depleted landscape of a former oil extraction town becomes the final stage set for wandering humans and 16mm film, the medium of ghosts.

april 2018, living archive

Living Archive Residents: Anna Azevedo and Leandro Listorti

This month, we are welcoming the current Living Archive residents to Arsenal: the filmmaker Anna Azevedo (Rio de Janeiro) and the filmmaker and archivist Leandro Listorti (Buenos Aires).

On April 8, the two will present a program consisting of films made by them and others from the Arsenal archive. Azevedo’s documentary DREŽNICA (Brazil, 2008) was compiled with amateur Super 8 images from the 1970s and describes a lyric journey through the images and dreams of blind people. “Drežnica” is a place where snow meets the sea, where the days are full of stars and the nights flooded with sunlight. It can only be “seen” by people who cannot see. VACANCY (Germany ,1998) is a draft for a utopian city, a place abandoned by its inhabitants, a museum kept alive only for its watchmen. Matthias Müller interweaves his own footage with extracts from amateur films and features filmed in Brasilia. Leandro Listorti will present the collaborative film project SUCESOS INTERVENIDOS (Argentina 2014). The archive of the “Sucesos Argentinos”, a weekly newsreel that was screened in the cinemas from 1938 to 1972, is housed in the Pablo C. Ducrós Hicken Film Museum in Buenos Aires. To underscore the urgency of digitalizing the archive, the museum invited filmmakers to produce new works on the basis of the newsreels. The Living Archive residency was founded in conjunction with the Goethe Institute in 2011.

march 2018, living archive

Public Screening – The Harun Farocki Institut presents

Skip Norman, who was born in Baltimore in 1933 and died in Washington DC in 2015, was a student at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB) in 1966, the first year of its existence. He went on to become a director and worked on 27 dffb productions. The titles of his films all hint at the struggle to assert an Afro-American identity in a world shaped by whites. CULTURAL NATIONALISM (1969), BLACK MAN’S VOLUNTEER ARMY OF LIBERATION (1970) or STRANGE FRUIT (1970) named after the song by Billie Holiday. BLUES PEOPLE (1968) adapted parts of the play “Dutchman“ by his peer LeRoi Jones (who later became Amiri Baraka). “They say, ‘I love Bessie Smith‘ and don’t even understand that Bessie Smith is saying, ‘Kiss my ass, kiss my black unruly ass.‘“ We will be showing five of Skip Norman’s films from Arsenal and Deutsche Kinemathek’s archive on March 22.

february 2018, living archive

"Archive außer sich": A New Arsenal Project

A long-term series entitled “Archive außer sich”, featuring research, event and exhibition projects, examines film heritage and its archives. At its basis is an idea from Living Archive: Research, digitalization and restoration of archives are part of an artistic, curatorial and/or academic practice.

What is a film archive today? What does the public expect from an archive and what present and future can archival constellations form? What new forms of navigation, including speculative ones, can be developed? Archives are laboratories for critical reflection in the “heritage” category, e.g. in relation to a past of colonialism and immigration or to political and aesthetic movements. Apart from yielding returns with regard to film history and theory, the project intends to contribute to the development of new prospects in cultural policy concerning film. Participating institutions: Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Film – Feld – Forschung gGmbH, Harun Farocki Institut, SAVVY Contemporary, pong GmbH, the “Film culture: Archiving, Programming, Presentation” MA program at Frankfurt’s Goethe University and the Seminar for Film Studies at FU Berlin.

The first events take place on 22nd February as part of the Forum Expanded event “Think Film No. 6 – Archival Constellations“.

february 2018, living archive

Filmmakers' Choice

The next Filmmakers' Choice will be presented by Eleonore de Montesquiou on February 28.

Jean Renoir once said that "the art of cinema is to approach the truth of the people." In my film, OLGA & OLGA (2017) I wanted to know what feminism, love and freedom meant for two friends in the Soviet Union. In Márta Mészáros' feature film ÖRÖKBEFOGADÁS (Adoption, 1974), women assert themselves against their parents, teachers and lovers. The short film HISTOIRE D’UNE FEMME (2005) by Karim Souaki documents the life of an elderly woman in Tunis on the margins of society. All three films try to approach the living conditions of women in their social environment from different cultural perspectives.

january 2018, living archive

Vaginal Davis presents Rising Stars, Falling Stars – Sweet 16 mm Never Been Kissed

Rising Stars, Falling Stars … Since 2007 at Arsenal and 2016 at silent green, Vaginal Davis has presented her finds from our archive over 100 times, always wearing a different dress, singing, dancing, reciting texts and hosting a post-screening drinks session with her co-curator, the pianist Daniel Hendrickson.

On January 12, we will reach to the stars with them for the last time when they show A. Edward Sutherland's EVERY DAY’S A HOLIDAY (1937), starring Mae West as a con artist, Louis Armstrong playing himself and five musketeers.