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october 2020, arsenal cinema

Walk on the Wild Side – The Films of Bertrand Bonello

Bertrand Bonello (*1968) is a central figure of contemporary French cinema and internationally known as an unconventional maker of auteur films. His films tell of pornography, prostitution, fashion, terror, decadence, failed utopias, youthful rebellion – and of filmmaking. They take a wide variety of forms: relationship drama, period picture, portrait, thriller, concert documentary, zombie movie. Again and again, Bonello reinvents himself and surprises from film to film, never tying himself down, leaving behind the tried and true in favor of seeking contrast and taking risks. An overview of his widely differing films nonetheless reveals a cohesive oeuvre. A trained musician, Bonello not only writes and directs, he also creates the scores for each his films. Music plays an immense role in all of his works, and is often used anachronistically. On the narrative level, there are repeated jumps in time, between past and present and between parts of a story, or in the achronological arrangement of scenes. His frequent use of split screens also testifies to an unusual handling of temporality and brings with it an impressive aesthetic effect, as does the recurring insertion of dates in the image. Narratively, an interest in the unfathomable in people and relationships can be recognized in his films, as well as an increasing affinity for genre cinema, both of which can result in disturbing elements at times. The fact that his films often depict a closed world or hermetic places, if not situated fully indoors like a chamber drama, does not mean that the outside is irrelevant; on the contrary, social conditions are always negotiated. All of this is done with great elegance.

From October 2-25, Arsenal will show a retrospective of nine feature-length and six short films made by Bonello between 1998 and 2020, including a short made during the recent pandemic lockdown titled OÙ EN ÊTES-VOUS? NUMÉRO 2. Bonello himself also appears in a role in Antoine Barraud’s LE DOS ROUGE. Due to travel restrictions, Bertrand Bonello won't be able to join the opening weekend in person. Instead Q&As will be held via skype after both screenings.

october 2020, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 in October: Mushroom Associations, Prologue to an enquiry, Footnote to Bertrand Bonello’s “Zombie Child”

The program of our virtual cinema makes direct reference to the activities carried out by our institution: the program of the Arsenal 1 & 2 cinemas at Potsdamer Platz, the titles that form part of our arsenal distribution range, or our Living Archive archival practice, which is rooted in both participation and production.

In October we will show three programs: “Pilz-Assoziationen” (Mushroom Associations) is a reference to OLANDA (Bernd Schoch, Germany 2019), which arsenal distribution will bring to cinemas on October 18. The “Archive außer sich” project will screen a series of films that deal with strategies in publishing. And two films revolving around the theme of voodoo will be shown as footnotes to Bertrand Bonello’s ZOMBI CHILD (France 2019), which opens our Bonello retrospective on October 2.

october 2020, berlinale forum

Forum 50 Follow-Up

As a follow-up to the 50th-anniversary Forum program at this year’s Berlinale, we will show two more films from the first Forum in 1971 this month, starting with LETTERA APERTA A UN GIORNALE DELLA SERA (Open Letter to the Evening News, Francesco Maselli, I 1970, 12.10.) A group of Marxist intellectuals responds to an appeal by an evening newspaper with an open letter in which they propose to head a delegation joining the war in Vietnam. When approval and interest begins to flow in from across Europe and even Vietnam’s Communist Party accepts the proposal, the group finds themselves in trouble. ICH LIEBE DICH, ICH TÖTE DICH (Uwe Brandner, BRD 1971, 19.10.) was described by its director as “a picture story from home.” A young teacher arrives at a remote village in Bavaria’s Altmühltal region. There, wealthy gentlemen have created a hunting ground for themselves at the edge of the wilderness. The friendship with the local gamekeeper develops into a love affair, which heralds the end of the fragile idyll.

october 2020, arsenal cinema

Film Restored. The Film Heritage Festival

Though the fifth edition of the Film Restored Film Heritage Festival can only take place under restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 21 film programs from over 15 countries can still be seen on the big screen from October 27-31, all of which were produced, handed down and restored thanks to European cooperation. This year’s festival, titled "A European Affair", is dedicated to the meaningful contribution of cross-border cooperation in the archiving and restoration of film heritage. To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, four films will be presented that deal with this turning point in European history. The film program will be supplemented by workshop presentations, talks and panel discussions.

october 2020, arsenal cinema

In Memory of Erika Richter

Erika Richter (1938-2020) was a renowned dramaturge and film critic in East Berlin. From 1976 onward she collaborated with the best film directors of the DEFA to develop material and scripts. She also wrote film criticism, essays, portraits and books, which met with a lively response not only in the GDR but also in West Germany. For decades, Erika Richter was a close friend of the Arsenal, the International Forum of the Berlinale, and ultimately of our team. We are grateful to her for so much: suggestions, pointers, broadening our horizons, lively contributions and clever questions during discussions, and her appraisals of new films and film trends. She was a frequent visitor to the Arsenal, always arriving early to screenings and developing friendships not only with the program makers but also with our staff at the box office.

Erika Richter passed away in August at the age of 82. As a tribute to her and as a sample of her work we will show the 1989 film RÜCKWÄRTSGEHEN KANN ICH AUCH by Karl-Heinz Lotz on October 26.