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november 2021, arsenal cinema

Helma Sanders-Brahms

Helma Sanders-Brahms was one of the most important German filmmakers of the post-war era. A selection of seven films from the director’s extensive oeuvre provides an overview. She was comfortable both in fiction and documentary cinema, making films about historical themes as well as about contemporary issues, and poignant dramas as well as political satires. Unconventional biographies of artistic personalities run through her work just as much as fictional portraits of women, which function like a magnifying glass to make visible social and political grievances. As personally motivated as many of her films are, as subjective and emotional in their approach, all of them are genuinely political. Not infrequently, they struck an almost painful chord with the times, which always attracted rejection.

november 2021, arsenal cinema

Showcasing Leos Carax

Leos Carax (born Alexandre Oscar Dupont in 1960) can justifiably be called an exceptional filmmaker. From erstwhile directorial prodigy of the early 1980s, he has developed into a controversial protagonist of international auteur cinema and retains a special position in French film today. Euphorically celebrated or resolutely rejected, the great legend is surrounded by many legends, not least regarding the sensational story behind the production of LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF, when he grossly exceeded both budget and deadline. Carax has only made six feature-length films in about 40 years. His slim oeuvre, however, is exceedingly rich in attractions and obsessions. Excessive in means, radically stylized and of great impact, his films cannot be pinned down to any genre. They burst with visual and acoustic inventions and bear witness to an extraordinary wealth of ideas that does not shy away from overdose and comprises numerous cinephile references and allusions to film history. Carax's great theme is unhappy love and his preferred setting is the city of Paris. Denis Lavant functions as his alter ego, and the characters he embodies bear the filmmaker's first names: Alex and Oscar.

On the occasion of the Berlin premiere of Annette, Leos Carax’s most recent film, Arsenal presents a program of five feature-length films made by him between 1983 and 2012 as part of the Berlin French Film Week.

november 2021, arsenal cinema

Film Restored 
– The Film Heritage Festival

Experiences of escape and migration are not only part of reality but also of 125 years of film history. They are reflected in the biographies, production conditions and stories told by the cinema. Called “Cinematic Migrations”, the sixth edition of Film Restored features 18 programs that focus on the many international connections between escape, emigration and film history.

november 2021, arsenal cinema

Urban Africa, Urban Movies – Youth & Youth Culture

URBAN AFRICA, URBAN MOVIES puts urban Africa and its cinematic reflection in contemporary African cinema at the center of a four-year program. The 2021 edition will focus on productions that explore modern youth and pop culture in Africa’s cities.

november 2021, arsenal cinema

„The gatekeepers exist to be overthrown.“ 
Amos Vogel – Repeats and Responses (II)

The homage to the New York film curator Amos Vogel (1921–2012) pays tribute to a personality for whom film culture was a collective, emancipatory adventure and who paved a path for cinema work that Arsenal took as well and which remains relevant today. The three-part program kicked off in September with a focus on the legendary Cinema 16, “a film society for the adult moviegoer” founded by Vogel and his wife Marcia in 1947 that was the cradle of the New York experimental film movement. From November 8th to 15th, attention will shift to the Sixties: the successive establishment of the “New American Cinema,” as well as other upheavals and key moments of a decade in which the seventh art reinvented itself again.

Already in the contemporary perception of experimental film, the New York Film-Makers' Coop and its canon of New American Cinema played a dominant role, and it continues to do so today. While the productivity of the New York scene was undoubtedly crucial for a broad, and soon international, reception and appreciation of experimental film forms, its dominance also led to limitations and omissions in film history. The November program, by contrast, follows a call that had been formulated at the time by Amos Vogel for an understanding of the avant-garde that was broader geographically and more sophisticated in form. With “A Changing Canon” as a working title, different curators have put together programs that show the heterogeneity of experimental film scenes in the US, but also draw attention to contemporaneous burgeoning movements in Europe and recall how the “underground” itself was soon to be undermined. Once again: The guardians of freedom, as Vogel said in the final sentence of his book “Film as a Subversive Art” (1974) “at all times and under all conditions, are the subversives.”