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."

december 2019, living archive

re-selected: Amos Vogel Korrespondenz

A research project on Amos Vogel and his connection to the Oberhausen Short Film Festival has begun. In the 60s, the New York film curator and publicist left his mark on the festival as a jury member, correspondent, and the one responsible for selecting films from the US. Vogel’s letters and film notes also suggest that Oberhausen was in turn a treasure trove for his work in New York.

A program on December 3 brings together five "New German" films that he was passionate about at the time: films by Wolf Hart, Wolfgang Ramsbott & Harry Kramer, Werner Königs, and Lucas Maria Böhmer, in which Vogel saw something new seen only seldom today. In addition: Dan Drasin’s legendary documentary SUNDAY (Oberhausen prizewinner ‘62) about how the New York police attacked the folk music scene at Washington Square Park, that is, right in front of Vogel’s door. (th) All the films will be shown on analogue prints.

re-selected is a project by Oberhausen Short Film Festival in collaboration with Arsenal as part of Archive außer sich.

november 2019, living archive

The Harun Farocki Institute Presents

Changes in political system produce images, words, and sounds. Not just the “currency union” or “German Reunification” in 1990, but also the financial crisis in Argentina in 2001 mark systemic interventions at a macro-political level, whereby the regulatory role of the start is taken on by the mechanisms of the deregulated market.

On November 20, the Harun Farocki Institute presents Farocki's HARD SELLING on the one hand, conversations with an Adidas travelling salesman in Brandenburg in 1990 which describe the transition from East Germany to a market capitalist system by way of sport and leisure items; on the other, material from Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann stemming from their time in Buenos Aires in 2001. They show the protests that accompanied the financial crisis in Argentina. While one state disappears here, there the economy is being denationalized. Visual strategies enter into a relationship of tension with systemic crises and uncompleted protests. With guests A. Creischer und A. Siekmann.

november 2019, living archive

Arsenal Became a FIAF Associate

The committee of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) decided to accept Arsenal as an Associate. The FIAF is an association of international film archives, whose members are dedicated to the preservation, collection, restoration and distribution of film. This membership means a great deal to Arsenal, which will be able to expand its international network, exchange ideas with other FIAF member institutes about the preservation and restoration of films and participate in contemporary debates about archival work.

Thanks to projects such as "Living Archive – Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice" (2011–2013) or "Archive außer sich" which is currently part of HKW’s "The New Alphabet" project, an intense exchange with German and international film archives has developed over the past few years, giving rise to a number of further academic, curatorial and artistic projects. The cooperation with archives in Africa and the Arab world is currently central, as is that with other FIAF members and associates such as as the DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum (Frankfurt am Main), the Austrian Film Museum (Vienna, Austria), the National Film Archive of India (Pune, India) or the National Film, Video and Sound Archive (Jos, Nigeria).

october 2019, living archive

News from Nigeria

Since 2016, the Arsenal has been cooperating with the "Film Culture: Archiving, Programming, Presentation" master programme of the Goethe University in Frankfurt and, since 2017, with the Nigerian Film Corporation as part of the research project Archive außer sich, which deals with film cultural heritage and its archives. The project has now given rise to a new study course: Starting this winter semester, the University of Jos, together with the Nigerian Film Corporation, which includes the National Film Institute and the National Film, Video and Sound Archive, is offering the first master's programme in film archiving and film culture in Africa. 25 students began their studies in Film Culture & Archival Studies in Jos on 22 October.

october 2019, living archive

Filmmakers’ Choice: DDR – ohne Titel & WOEST – ohne Titel

The next edition of our monthly series Filmmakers' Choice will be presented by Clarissa Thieme on October 14: The films by “DDR – ohne Titel” and “WOEST – ohne Titel” refer to the upheaval of 1989. They speak from different geographical and temporal standpoints, as the countries they are listed under indicate. The first ones, shot in East Germany in the “hot” autumn before the fall of the Wall, are ways of approaching the social upheaval at whose center the filmmakers found themselves. LEIPZIG IM HERBST (East Germany 1989) and IN BERLIN 16.10.–04.11.89 (East Germany 1989) are collections of materials that document a search for orientation in a social context that can no longer be understood. “WOEST – ohne Titel” collects the external view of this upheaval, both temporally and geographically. DDR – OHNE TITEL (Germany 1991), FORMER EAST / FORMER WEST (USA 1994) and DIE DDR HAT ES NIE GEGEBEN / APPELL (Germany 2016) are ghost trips – though East Germany, which still appears like a phantom despite having ceased to exist, and through a new Germany of an unclear nature.

october 2019, living archive

Public Screening: A-clips

A-Clip was a project (1997–2003) that proceeded from the basic idea of making use of the attention of cinema audiences to place political and subjective artistic statements. Short films were made to this end which took their bearings from the advertising aesthetic, picking up on it, mocking it, or breaking with it, and which grappled with the theme of “internal disquiet” that grips people and leads to a lack of solidarity. The individual A-clips, each of them around 50 seconds long, were edited into the blocks of cinema adverts. The A-clip producers were filmmakers or artists looking for new ways of creating a political public. For the use of A-clips in cinemas, 35mm prints were created, which remained in the Arsenal archive and are now stepping out into the light once again.

At a public screening on October 9, we don’t just want to inspect the state of the material, but also see what sort of effect the clips have today. The screening will be attended by several producers.

september 2019, living archive

Online Cinema: arsenal 3

We are launching arsenal 3, an exclusive pilot project for our members and premium members. As part of the Archive außer sich project, we are now extending our service regarding restored and digitalized films. Our independent film collection, which was set up in 1963, boasts some 10,000 titles and each month we will provide one of them for streaming. Bonus material such as texts, interviews and supplementary film(s) will give an insight into the history of the respective films and their restoration if applicable.

We begin with Lana Gogoberidse’s RAMDENIME INTERWIU PIRAD SAKITCHEBSE (Some Interviews on Personal Matters, USSR/Georgia 1978) in which the journalist Sofiko interviews women about their lives and desires, trying at the same time to balance her own career and personal life.

september 2019, living archive

Vaginal Davis presents Contemporary Vinegar Syndrome

CVS on the patio of the Vollguter Gemeinschaftsgarten! In the second open-air edition of her series of performances from the Arsenal archive, Vaginal Davis - supported by Daniel Hendrickson as always - will give an insight into Brazil’s Cinema Novo. She will present short works by the filmmaker and theoretician Glauber Rocha, considered the movement’s mind; these include his first film, the experimental PÁTIO (1959) as well as the documentaries MARANHÃO 66 (1966) about the celebrations after Governor José Sarney took office and AMAZONAS, AMAZONAS (co-directed by Luiz Augusto Mendes and Fernando Duarte, 1966) about the Amazon and those who work in the region. Tata Amaral and her successful hip-hop short film VIVER A VIDA (1992) about the daily life of an office boy will represent a later generation. Free for members. You can become a member at the box office. September 10 at Vollguter Gemeinschaftsgarten, Neukölln on the grounds of the former Kindl Brauerei.

september 2019, living archive

Living Archive Residency

This month, we welcome the current Living Archive grant-holder to Arsenal: Carine Doumit, a film editor and writer from Beirut. On September 6, she will present two films from the archive: CLASSICAL PERIOD (Ted Fendt, USA 2018) und LE CAMION (Marguerite Duras, France 1977).

[– Is this a film? – It would have been a film. It is a film.] Does showing, reading, copying, translating, re-enacting or commenting a literary text in films inevitably lead to an adaptation? Or are these just artifices that contain the process of reading and writing and possibly all allocations of time and space between – the process of observing, listening, interrupting, drifting, walking, mutual observation or observation of the same landscape or standing uneasily in a room, speechless. This program is perhaps just as much about conversations, as it is about silence, as Deleuze would have said, and perhaps the topic of conversation actually lies beneath what we see.

august 2019, living archive

Public Screening re-selected: Vinegar Surprises

The reason why acetate film material breaks down is “vinegar syndrome”, a chemical decomposition process that cannot be stopped once it’s begun. As prints affected by it are “contagious”, they are isolated and removed from circulation. The archive of the Oberhausen Short Film Festival also houses numerous quarantined film prints of this kind. Four of them will be screened on August 7 as a surprise program: CZERWONE I CZARNE by Witold Giersz, CLAY by Eliot Noyes, ČEKAJ Í NA GODOTA by Juraj Jakubisko, and PANC by Sabina Pop. The screening will be followed by a conversation about the tragedy, humour and beauty of transient film prints with Markus Ruff (Arsenal) and Shelly Silver, whose films This Film and Turn are currently being subjected to a controlled vinegar syndrome experiment as part of the Stoffwechsel project. re-selected is a project by the Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen and Arsenal and, like Stoffwechsel, part of Archive außer sich.

august 2019, living archive

This Month's Filmmakers’ Choice

The invisible air is the protagonist of these three selected cinema songs. VAYU (Air, France 1994), the fourth part of a series by Indian painter and director Velu Viswanadhan on the elements, is a multilayered portrait of his country in images and sounds, without commentary and rich in nuances and metaphors. In IM GARTEN (Ute Aurand, Bärbel Freund, Germay 2002), a silent portrait of the Karl-Foerster-Garten in Potsdam-Bornim at different times of years, it’s not the naturalistic reproduction of the flora that makes up life, but rather the perception of the elements. SANS TITRE (Karl Heil, Germay 2018) creates a choreography of the meeting of crows and an ice skater at Lietzensee. It also does without sound to show the commonality between air and cinematography – movement. Presented by Karl Heil on August 12.

july 2019, living archive

Vaginal Davis Presents: Contemporary Vinegar Syndrome

july 2019, living archive

Public Screening: The Harun Farocki Institute Presents

Five years after Farocki’s sudden death in July 2014, we are turning our public screening on July 1st into a premiere: HARUN FAROCKI – ZWEIMAL connects two different perspectives on the filmmaker. Directors Lothar Schuster (dffb class of 1968) and Ingo Kratisch (dffb class of 1969 and since 1977 cinematographer for many of Farocki’s films) alternate passages from a long conversation with Farocki from 1995 with casual observations recorded by Kratisch and Matthias Rajmann during the shoots for "Die Schöpfer der Einkaufswelten", "Zum Vergleich", "Ernste Spiele" and other films with both photo and video cameras. Two gestures of remembrance, two attempts at grieving. Beforehand, material unearthed in the archive of the Harun Farocki Institute will be shown: text rehearsals for Farocki’s film "Etwas wird sichtbar". With guests Ingo Kratisch and Lothar Schuster.

june 2019, living archive

Filmmakers’ Choice: Sex, Power and Ambiguous Animals

For this program, we would like to be a group of beings that do not differentiate between our organs of perception. For us, seeing is like hearing, hearing is like smelling and smelling like tasting. Perhaps the uncertainty of the present prevents us from becoming such beings. A possible escape from this uncertainty is offered by a synonym: ambiguity. We have compiled a program that opens up a space of ambiguity. Additionally, we would like to cite from the book: “When Elephants Weep. The Emotional Lives of Animals”: “Would a cat enjoy seeing a mouse […] stretched on a rack? It seems unlikely-injured mice in traps are of only fleeting interest to cats.” “Some traditional tribes in Madagascar say that when sifaka lemurs lie on high branches in the morning, facing the sun, with their eyes closed, they are worshipping the sun.” Presented by Anja Dornieden and Juan Gonzalez. (ad/jg) (19.6.)

june 2019, living archive


Film Feld Forschung has set itself the goal of using the interior and exterior spaces of the listed building in which silent green Kulturquartier is housed to explore the medium of film in both theory and practice. A year-long series of events, workshops and exhibitions deals with the materiality of film and the earth as an archive.

Film is a medium of memory but what comprises and shapes its memory? How does film relate to the material of film itself and to the materiality of what is pictured? What is the physical relationship between bodies and landscape and the image and thus the observer and his/her environment? Attention is paid to the diverse relations, materials and temporalities in the earth and with the earth, for example the way they inform the principles of permaculture. How can the interplay between plundering and repair be reinterpreted for the prospects of the moving image, the cinema and the understanding of archives?

“Contested Grounds” is the common title of two programs at Arsenal. One explores the oeuvre of Corinne and Arthur Cantrill, while the other explores the works of the Japanese filmmaker Shinsuke Ogawa and his collective Ogawa Pro. Stoffwechsel opens on 30th May with an installation of film works by Arthur and Corinne Cantrill, Kerstin Schroedinger and Mareike Bernien in the Betonhalle of silent green. Dagie Brundert and Philip Hoffman will conduct a workshop called Under the Strawberry Sun, Organic Film Processing. Their film works will be screened on 31st May and 1st June at silent green. A two-week permaculture course for urban spaces called SOIL – CITY – SOLIDARITY will start on June 1st.

june 2019, living archive


On June 12, Didi Cheeka, a filmmaker and critic from Lagos, will present SHAIHU UMAR (Adamu Halilu, Nigeria 1976), an important work of Nigerian cinema, which was long thought to be lost. But in 2016, negatives and prints of the film were found in the archive of the Nigerian Film Corporation. Arsenal restored them and they were shown at the 2018 Berlinale Forum. SHAIHU UMAR, which is set in northern Nigeria at the end of the 19th century, is based on the eponymous novella by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who would later become the first prime minister of independent Nigeria. It starts with a discussion between students and their respected teacher, the Islamic scholar Shaihu Umar, who tells them of his modest background and the fact that he was separated from his mother after his father’s death and the banishment of his stepfather. His subsequent trials and tribulations include slavery. He is put to a number of tests before being adopted by his Arab master Abdulkarim, not as a slave but as a son.

june 2019, living archive

Public screening 
re-selected: Two films by Jan Lindqvist

In the 1960s and 70s, many Swedish auteurs were involved in the liberation struggles of the Global South and provided the left-wing movement in Western Europe with counter-information. The archive of the Short Film Festival Oberhausen boasts two remarkable films by Jan Lindqvist that testify to the connection between documentary and the partisan struggle. TUPAMAROS (1973) analyzes the theory and practice of guerrilla warfare in Uruguay. AGRIPINO (1977) portrays an indigenous Peruvian farmer who set off on the long journey to Peru’s capital Lima to bring charges against the landowners’ brutal violence. A few weeks ago, Lindqvist “repatriated” these films and others from where they were made, opening up questions about belonging, which also pertain to archives. Guest: Film curator and co-editor of the Swedish film magazine “Walden”. (th) (2.6.)

may 2019, living archive

The Whole Life: Archives and Reality

From May 19 to 25, an international academy entitled "The Whole Life: Archives and Reality" is taking place in Dresden followed by a conference. Arsenal and the project partners of "Archive außer sich" are also involved in the program as part of the large-scale "The New Alphabet" project. Taking the Archiv der Avantgarden as its starting point, the conference grasps archives as social networks of object biographies.

may 2019, living archive

Public Screening – The Harun Farocki Institute present

In accordance with the condition that the “public screening” format be used for first encounters with films and their Arsenal archive prints (and in keeping with a small tradition on feminist and ethnological films within the program), the Harun Farocki Institute presents A RUSTLING OF LEAVES: INSIDE THE PHILIPPINE REVOLUTION (Nettie Wild, Canada 1988) on May 16. The director placed her work within complex political constellations, in the triangle of participatory observation, partisan engagement and radical ethnography. Her first longer film is set between the fronts of the 1980s revolution in the Philippines, which escalated in 1986 when Corazon Aquino became the first woman to accede to power in the country. The film was shown in the Berlinale Forum of 1989 and received global attention. That’s as much or as little as we know at the moment.

april 2019, living archive

Vaginal Davis präsentiert: Contemporary Vinegar Syndrome

On April 8, our archive researcher Vaginal Davis and Daniel Hendrickson are guests at b_books! b_books is a bookstore, publisher, film production company, and event space in Kreuzberg and on hand each year at the Berlinale with a stand in the Arsenal foyer. Two films produced in collective contexts will be shown. Kartemquin Films has been producing documentaries in Chicago for over 50 years: WINNIE WRIGHT, AGE 11 (1974) tells the story of a working-class family living in Gage Park, Chicago, where African-Americans are increasingly moving to the previously mainly white district. Pacific Street Films was founded in 1969. FRAME-UP: THE IMPRISONMENT OF MARTIN SOSTRE was made in 1972 about the Puerto Rican owner of a bookstore in Buffalo, who is wrongly sentenced for drug possession and assault and is incarcerated in Attica.

april 2019, living archive

Filmmakers’ Choice: Estonian Films in the Soviet Union

On April 11, Eléonore de Montesquiou will present a programme as part of our series Filmmakers' Choice: AEG MAHA (Time Out, 1984) is an animated film by Priit Pärn about a cat whose day transforms into a series of surreal dreams. PÔRGU (Hell, 1983) by Rein Raamat enters into the life of Estonian graphic artist and painter Eduard Wiiralt from the early 1930s in three steps (“The Preachers”, “Cabaret”, and “Hell”). In HULLUMEELSUS (Kaljo Kiisk, 1968), a Gestapo officer looks for a spy in a psychiatric hospital. The film, a critique of totalitarianism, was banned, but Tallinnfilm, who produced it, hid the archived duplicate. Today, prints of the film exist in Tallinn and in the Arsenal film archive. Thanks to the Eesti Filmi Instituut.