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may 2020, arsenal cinema

arsenal 4 at silent green

The two Potsdamer Platz cinemas, which closed on 13th March to prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus, cannot yet reopen. Since the closure, our virtual cinema, arsenal 3, has been showing mainly works from our collection, which is housed at the silent green Kulturquartier.

The Forum Expanded exhibition, "Part of the Problem”, in the Betonhalle at silent green also had to close prematurely on March 13th. We are now making the most of the gradual reopening of the MARS restaurant to make the medium of film physically available again, in conjunction with silent green and outside our own four walls.

From 30th May, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursdays to Sundays, changing installation works from various Forum Expanded programs will be on display in the Betonhalle of silent green.

The selection of works was inspired by “2026", a 2010 work by the artist Maha Maamoun, which will also be screened at the Betonhalle for four months, first as a projection and then on a monitor.

may 2020, arsenal cinema

Latitude – Camera Memory for Human Forgetfulness

A film programme by the Goethe Institute

May 29 - June 12 at arsenal 3


Our streaming area arsenal 3, which shows works from the Arsenal's collection in a changing programme during the closing time of our both cinemas, will open its platform for the next 14 days for the interdisciplinary digital festival Latitude by the Goethe-Institut which presents debates and artistic works to the continued effects of colonial structures in the present.


This film programme answers the decolonial call of Latitude with an affective, visceral response centered on experiences of memory. The antiphonic, visual and sonic melodies of these films dissonante the clear-cut categories of racism, economy and restitution, representing how these issues fold onto each other, pulling at the seams of our desires to make things right. Each film chants a refrain of circulation and repair. They all deal with mobility, transnational experience and movement, and in one creative way or another, the need for not just institutional or economic, but affective reform. The programme’s title, “Camera Memory for Human Forgetfulness,” is taken from the film FORGETTING VIETNAM by Trinh T. Minh-ha. Her meditative exploration of repair through poetic retellings of history binds the films in this series, a collection of subversive works by

artists Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Ng’endo Mukii, Christa Joo Hyun D'Angelo, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor and Thirza Cuthand. Each demonstrate an interest in the affective expression of unequal power structures and the labours of unsettling them.

may 2020, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 – week 9 & 10

We MUST Have Music!


“Earlier, when I was watching musical films on TV, and then recording them, I would try to re-enact the scenes by myself. And that’s why I know some of those songs by heart.” (Vaginal Davis)


One of the participants of the Arsenal project “Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice” was queer performance artist Vaginal Davis, who moved to Berlin from Los Angeles in 2006. As a film lover, she quickly immersed herself in the Arsenal archive and began presenting the treasures she found there to audiences from 2007 onwards. During this period, the series was called “Rising Stars, Falling Stars – We Must Have Music!”. We’re unearthed the trailer to this series and added it to the arsenal 3 program, together with another short film that she shot in 2001, the founding year of the CHEAP Collective (with Daniel Hendrickson, Susanne Sachsse, Marc Siegel, and later Tim Blue, whose film SURFACE NOISE is also part of the program). Arsenal in-house pianist Eunice Martins, another Living Archive participant, entered into a musical dialogue with the archive in PIECES FOR THE ARCHIVE. The resultant video footage allows us to see a space we are all missing greatly right now: the Arsenal 1 cinema auditorium.

As part of our jitsi Q&A (28. and 29.5.), we will be speaking to her about her film accom-panying music. To round off the Q&As, we’ll also be playing a playlist exclusively put to-gether for this event by Vaginal Davis.

Until then, we’ll be spending our time with music by Margarita Fernández, Blixa Bargeld, Ricky Shayne, The Schlippenbach Trio, Kreidler, The Invisible Hands, Genesis P. Orridge, Leila Albayaty, Bengali Bauls, Puccini, Lena Horne, with the musical traditions of Palestine and the Emirates, Brazilian soundscapes, a melancholy folk song from Kuwait, jam sessions at a home studio, and the sound of analogue film material.

april 2020, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 – week 7 & 8

Many people have lost their jobs in recent weeks or had their hours cut, others face the same fate and almost everyone's work and therefore life has been fundamentally changed by the measures put in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. So, we have decided to devote our program for weeks 7 & 8, which fittingly kicks off on 1st May, to the subject of work.

Work and industrial action have cropped up in Forum, Forum Expanded and Arsenal programs for decades and we have a number of appropriate titles in our collection. However, many of them are available only in analogue form and thus cannot be shown in our online cinema, arsenal 3.

Nevertheless, we have been able to include two classics: LA REPRISE DU TRAVAIL AUX USINES WONDER (Resumption of Work at the Wonder Factory, États généraux du cinéma, 1968) and FÜR FRAUEN - 1. KAPITEL (For Women – Chapter 1, 1972) by Cristina Perincioli. We will also be showing recently digitized films from the 1980s by the first feminist film collective in India (Yugantar) and AMY! by Laura Mulvey (1980) about a pioneering pilot. Our total of 21 programs span the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s before skipping the 1990s (which feature less in our collection in digital format; one important work for Arsenal during this period was a French co-production about Niger, Éliane de Latour's Contes et comptes de la cour but it only exists in a 35mm copy) and continuing into the 2000s and 10s. The works take us into very recent history (EIN PROLETARISCHES WINTERMÄRCHEN by Julian Radlmaier, EINE FLEXIBLE FRAU by Tatjana Turanskyj or OUT ON THE STREET by Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk) and imagine a future, which in light of the COVID-19 experience has gained new relevance (THE MACHINISTS' LAMENT by Jen Liu and LABOUR POWER PLANT by Robert Schlicht and Romana Schmalisch).

We can only show these films and those listed below at arsenal 3 because filmmakers, artists and producers have put them at our disposal. We are experiencing a considerable loss of income as a result of the temporary closure of arsenal 1 & 2 and the fact that we are currently not distributing films to other cinemas. But we still want to pay royalties to filmmakers and artists, who are particularly hard hit by the COVID-19, while at the same time maintaining our free arsenal 3 screenings. That's why we appreciate your donations and continue to ask all those who can to support us. You can also help maintain our institution's work by becoming members. After all, cinema is one thing in particular – a collaborative project.

april 2020, startpage

In memory of Sarah Maldoror - MONANGAMBEEE on arsenal 3 and an obituary by Filipa César

arsenal 3 came about because we had to temporarily close arsenal 1 and 2 to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus. On April 13th, we unfortunately received the sad news that Sarah Maldoror, an outstandingly important filmmaker for so many of us, had passed away at the age of 91 after contracting the virus.

Monangambeee is a rallying cry with which the activists of the anti-⁠colonial liberation struggle in Angola convened village meetings. Sarah Maldoror’s first short film of the same name was part of the first edition of the Berlinale Forum in 1971. The print stayed in our archives and was widely distributed. Much later, when it turned out that it had become the only accessible print, we began to really understand archive work as a collaborative process.

From 2011-⁠2013 Filipa César participated in our project „Living Archive – archive work as a contemporary artistic and curatorial practice with "Luta ca caba inda“, a project concerned with the remains of a short phase of militant cinema in Guinea-⁠Bissau in the archive of the National Film Institute (INCA – Instituto Nacional de Cinema e Audiovisual). Together with her and in close collaboration with filmmaker Sana na N’Hada, who had been assistant director of Sarah Maldoror’s films, we started our first large digitisation project. Our conversations had a huge impact on the conceptualisation of our own archive as a site for political activism.

The film was digitised for the DVD project Specters of Freedom – Cinema and Decolonization, edited by Tobias Hering and Catarina Simão. It was re-⁠screened as part of Berlinale Shorts in 2017 and once again this February in the framework of the 50 anniversary program of Berlinale Forum.

We asked Filipa César to write an obituary for Sarah Maldoror which you can read below. Our thoughts are with Sarah’s daughter, Annouchka de Andrade, who generously agreed to include MONANGAMBEEE in our arsenal 3 program. (stss)

april 2020, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 – week 5 & 6

Absent Present: Our first phase of closure comes to an end on 19.4. It’s still not clear when arsenal 1 and arsenal 2 can be reopened. arsenal 3 has already four weeks of programming behind it. At this point, we’d like to say a big thank you to our audiences, who are scattered across the entire world right now, to all the filmmakers who have been giving their support to arsenal 3, and to everyone who has already made a donation! We would like to welcome all the new Arsenal and Arsenal Freundeskreis members!

The majority of films we’re showing at arsenal 3 are from our own distribution range. Curating a program from a pool of films right in front of you is an exciting new challenge, as instead of collating films for a particular series or exhibition, we are placing those already there into relationship with one another. This enables us to take a fresh look at our collection, also with regards to the question of what’s available digitally and what isn’t, and the restrictions faced by digital programming without recourse to analogue films.

Still incredibly extensive nonetheless: maybe it’s not even us who does the curating. Maybe it’s the films themselves that group themselves first in one way and then another (in this case, without the analogue ones) and create something new in the process. And then it’s once again us who form narratives. As always, from the present, which currently has a particularly profound effect on how we view cinema.

It’s all the more important that we don’t just try draw attention to our own immediate realm of experience but rather try to implement what we’ve learnt from the cinema of resistance: making visible what we otherwise don’t see.

As always, when we leave the cinema space, we also do so to grasp the same space in a new way. This equally applies to exhibitions and the Internet. Seen from the outside, there are always good reasons to return to the cinema auditorium, as well as expanded views of cinema and society that will endure.

arsenal 3 is an experiment. It explores, for example, the question of whether a temporal restriction can create a cinema space. With a beginning and an end, at which discussions with the filmmakers take place. We still have to adjust the rhythm to this end: for this reason, we are now turning our weekly programs into fortnightly ones. For it’s not just cinema, but also our concept of time that we’re learning afresh.

Meetings are currently only possible with many restrictions. In weeks 5 & 6, we would like to make you acquainted a few personalities who we came across during our research, famous and less well-known alike.

The focus is on portraits and the difficulties connected with making them, particularly when the lives of those being portrayed are or have been marked by questions of representation and depiction. Those filming are thus just as important here as those being filmed. We meet photographer Abisag Tüllmann (DIE FRAU MIT DER KAMERA by Claudia von Alemann), filmmaker Harun Farocki (HARUN FAROCKI – ZWEIMAL by Ingo Kratisch and Lothar Schuster), artist and musician Tony Conrad (TONY CONRAD DREAMINIMALIST by Marie Losier), performance artist Oskar Dawicki (THE PERFORMER by Łukasz Ronduda and Maciej Sobieszczański), and architect Louis Sullivan (SULLIVANS BANKEN by Heinz Emigholz). We meet actors Soad Hosni in THE 3 DISAPPEARANCES OF SOAD HOSNI (by Rania Stephan), Frances Framer in COMMITTED (by Sheila McLaughlin und Lynne Tillman), and João Carlos Castanha in CASTANHA (by Davi Pretto), as well as telenovela actress and political activist Bete Mendes and funk-carioca musician Deise Tigrona (BETE & DEISE by Wendelien van Oldenborgh). Marwa Arsanios even goes a stage further in HAVE YOU EVER KILLED A BEAR? OR BECOMING JAMILA, which focuses on the difficulties faced by an actress in playing Algerian liberation fighter Jamila Bouhired.

ABSENT PRESENT: But it’s not just about well-known names. Benji was brought to East Germany from Namibia as a small child in 1979 and sent back there in 1990 after reunification, where filmmaker Angelika Levi got to know him. When she later wanted to make a portrait of him, he had disappeared. SUSPENDED FREEDOM by May El Hossamy follows a housekeeper who goes door to door in Cairo, does housework, and speaks about her private life in the process. And in JOKINEN, Laura Horelli tells the story of Finnish man August Jokinen, a caretaker and subsequent civil-rights campaigner and Communist Party member, as a piece of historical research and a detective story in one.

Thomas Heise says the following about his film MEIN BRUDER. WE’LL MEET AGAIN: “It’s about my brother and I. Everything unspoken between us. Otherwise I wouldn’t have made this film.”

Last but not least, revolving around ourselves again, we are showing three special attempts at self-depiction: XÉNOGÉNÈSE by Akihiko Morishita, WITH SOUL, WITH BLOOD by Rabih Mroué, and TOSS IT, BABY! by Justin Time.

Dr. Mabuse, boss of a press company, doesn’t create just a portrait, she creates an entire person: with DORIAN GRAY IM SPIEGEL DER BOULEVARDPRESSE, we are bringing Ulrike Ottinger’s Berlin trilogy to a close.

arsenal 3 came about because we had to temporarily close arsenal 1 and 2 to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus. Just before we were closing the program, we unfortunately received the sad news that Sarah Maldoror, an outstandingly important filmmaker not just to us, had passed away at the age of 91 after contracting the virus. MONANGAMBEEE is a rallying cry with which the activists of the anti-colonial liberation struggle in Angola convened village meetings. Her short film of the same name is one of the most important works in our collection. We are making all efforts we can to include it in the program.

april 2020, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 – week 4

This corona period is one of waiting, waiting for an end without even knowing how to recognize it. Has waiting become an end in itself? Maybe the point is not to change the world, or even our expectations of it, but to change the anticipated.

In Bette Gordon's VARIETY, a ticket seller at a porn cinema stops waiting for the next customer and decides to appropriate her surroundings, while a saleswoman at one of the first web shops in Germany appropriates the interactive videotex in Riki Kalbe's DIE OPTISCHE INDUSTRIEGESELLSCHAFT ODER DARF’S EIN VIERTEL PFUND MEHR SEIN? The same director also made HEXENSCHUSS, about three women in a shared Berlin apartment who get fed up with waiting and create a radio disturbance channel to expose sexism in the media.

Three decades later, a woman and her children wait in front of the TV for time to pass (ANOTHER COLOR TV by The Youngrrr), while in LILY’S LAPTOP (Judith Hopf) a daughter waits at home alone. Maybe her parents are at work, sitting in meetings and conferences. Stefan Landorf's BESPRECHUNG (Meeting) brings us into the realm of rhetoric and rituals.

Chronophobia sounds like a product of this world: It's characterized by an irrational yet persistent fear of time and of the passing of time, and can only be "healed" if time is slowed down or stopped. DIE ZEIT VERGEHT WIE EIN BRÜLLENDER LÖWE (Time Goes by Like a Roaring Lion) by Philipp Hartmann tries to do the impossible.

While the coronavirus is not only slowing down our present, but at the same time accelerating it, putting us at risk while also opening up a space for reflection, the waiting is also putting people in urgent mortal danger, and not only since the virus appeared. In LE CUIRASSÉ ABDELKARIM (Battleship Abdelkarim by Walid Mattar) young people wait to receive a visa for Europe. In NOW: END OF SEASON (Ayman Nahle), the audience sees Syrian refugees waiting in Turkey while listening as a phone conversation fails to happen – President Hafiz al-Assad waits for his US counterpart Ronald Reagan who is out riding. LES SAUTEURS (Moritz Siebert, Estephan Wagner, Abou Bakar Sidibé) is about waiting for the next "jump" from Africa to the EU, from Mount Gurugu, which overlooks the Spanish enclave of Melilla on the Mediterranean coast of north Africa.

Meanwhile: THE MERMAIDS, OR AIDEN IN WONDERLAND (Karrabing Film Collective) tells of a future in which Europeans will no longer be able to survive for long periods outdoors in a land and seascape poisoned by capitalism, but Indigenous people seem able to. In PHANTASIESÄTZE (Dane Komljen) the trees are consulted long after the cities on the river have been afflicted by a plague.

Back by popular demand: Tamer El Said's IN DEN LETZTEN TAGEN DER STADT, another film about waiting, for a new apartment, a new film, a future.

And finally, we will also be showing the long-awaited second part of Ulrike Ottinger's Berlin trilogy: FREAK ORLANDO.

april 2020, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 – week 3

Joint Action

“…we explored the possibilities of gesture, stance and facial movement in hundreds of photo sessions, using everything in the apartment as draperies and props” (Ulrike Ottinger on working with Tabea Blumenschein)

Cinema is collaborative work. The possibilities of changing the system via joint action are investigated by Minze Tummescheit and Arne Hector in their interview film IN ARBEIT (2012) and by Sandra Schäfer and Elfe Brandenburger in PASSING THE RAINBOW, which was shot in Kabul in 2007. Annika Larsson’s BLIND (2011) and Agnieszka Brzezanska's BLUE MOVIE (2007) are about shared body language and sensorial perception. The films THE RIGHT (2015) by Assaf Gruber and DIE AUSSTELLUNG (2005) by Juliane Zelwies examine relationship structures in the art world. A CRIME AGAINST ART (2007) by Hila Peleg and KILLER.BERLIN.DOC (1999) by Jörg Heitmann und Bettina Ellerkamp attempt to do the same by having real figures from the world of art and culture play themselves, in the former in a courtroom show, in the latter by playing a crime game.

Two films are from this year’s Forum Expanded program: In LETTER TO A FRIEND (2019), Emily Jacir asks research agency Forensic Architecture to open an investigation before anything has actually happened. Caitlin Berrigan’s IMAGINARY EXPLOSIONS (2019) follows a group of trans-feminist scholars who want to fulfil the Earth’s desire to have all volcanoes erupt at the same time. We’re contrasting the-se new works with two historical films digitally restored by Arsenal: In RAMDENIME INTERVIU PIRAD SAKITKHEBZE (Some Interviews on Personal Matters, USSR/Georgia 1978), Lana Gogoberidze gives an account of the intertwining of the private and the political, while in the short films by Ibrahim Shaddad, member of the Sudanese Film Group, the question of joint action becomes a question of life and death.

Last, but not least, we are particularly happy to be able to present Ulrike Ottinger’s Berlin trilogy over the next three weeks. We’re starting with BILDNIS EINER TRINKERIN (Ticket of No Return, 1979) and are thus commemorating actress and artist Tabea Blumenschein, who died recently.

march 2020, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 - week 2

The first week was a great success! Not only did many people make use of our digital program, but we also hosted very interesting discussions between filmmakers and audience members. We are aware that our online presence is not yet perfect, but we are working on it and learning as we go along.

But it goes without saying that we can’t wait to have you back in person at Arsenal 1 and 2 and we’re constantly thinking about the future about which we have major concerns. In order to continue to show online films for free and also pay filmmakers for the licenses if would be great if you could donate to Arsenal

Another possibility to support us is to become members of Arsenal!

march 2020, arsenal cinema

Arsenal 3 Open To All

On Friday, March 13th, we suspended all events at Arsenal 1 + 2 until April 19th, cutting short both our anniversary program for the 50th Berlinale Forum and the Forum Expanded exhibition, to combat the further spread of the Coronavirus.

Suddenly, “Part of the Problem”, the motto of this year’s Forum Expanded, had become self-explanatory to a far greater degree than we’d hoped: as event organizers, we are always part of what we are engaged with, not least because of our unique approach. It’s not just about having a stance on films, but also one on the world. The places where we negotiate this, the cinema auditorium and the exhibition space, may no longer be accessible for the moment, but the filmmakers, artists, films, audiences and Arsenal itself are all still there, at least the institution and its staff. And we’re still working, also to remodel the cinema into a social space.

Yet without the protection of three walls and a screen, there’s a problem: anyone can see the film, which not everyone necessarily agrees with. That’s why we got in touch with the filmmakers and artists whose films form part of our distribution range. We were totally overwhelmed by their reaction: without any hesitation, they immediately made enough films available for online viewing to enable us to put together a program for the next few weeks. And not just that: everyone who agreed to take part also made an unconditional expression of solidarity. We need the filmmakers but they also need us. arsenal 3 is therefore even more what cinema always actually is: a collaborative project.