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april 2021, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 in April: Otar Iosseliani

"What you give is yours, what you keep is lost," goes one Georgian proverb. "Everything that happens in my films has to do with people's weakness for possession," says Otar Iosseliani. "And this leads to real values such as feelings disappearing." One could add that all of the director's films are about the disappearance of culture, sensuality, altruism and solidarity. They are poetic tragicomedies which feature a keen sense of humor, a slight wistfulness, reduced dialogue and flowing imagery.

Born in 1934 in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, Otar Iosseliani studied music and math before taking a directing course in 1955 with Alexander Dovzhenko at the VGIK Film School in Moscow. His graduation film APRILI (1962), a critical examination of the petty bourgeois aspirations to possess, was banned in the Soviet Union. Like many of his later films, APRILI does not have extensive dialogue or commentary. Iosseliani is of the opinion that words should not be determining factors and should not hold any important information. In his works, the essential is revealed by facial expressions, gestures and the way the protagonists hold themselves. Words are equal to music and other noises on the soundtrack.


After making three feature-length films between 1966 and 1975, Iosseliani was no longer given the opportunity to work in the Soviet Union and emigrated to France in 1982. Iosseliani has since made a dozen films, in Senegal, Italy, France and Georgia, which he all considers Georgian films. They talk about the poor and the rich, urban life and the country, traditions, the loss of values and the passing of time. They are at once melancholy and cheerful because "when things are taken very seriously it is hard to talk about them seriously (O.I.).


Arsenal – Institute for Film und Video Art is the German distributor for Otar Iosseliani’s complete collection of work. In April, we will show a selection of seven feature-length films on arsenal 3, from his full-length debut GIORGOBISTVE (Falling Leaves, 1966) to his last film for the time being, CHANT D’HIVER (Winter Song, 2015).

april 2021, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3 in April: Bricks

On 16 September 2013, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Arsenal showed a double programme entitled "Bricks" in the presence of Harun Farocki. Farocki's ZUM VERGLEICH (In Comparison, G 2009) and CHIRCALES (Colombia 1971) by Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva, two films about brickmaking from the Arsenal's collection, were shown. While Farocki's film observes manual labour, industrial work and computer work in India, Switzerland, Burkina Faso, France and other places, creating a global contemporary history of brick production, Marta Rodríguez's and Jorge Silva's film focuses on a brickmaker family over a period of six years, exemplifying the exploitation of the workers.


"Archive außer sich" will show both films, which have a long history with the Arsenal Archive, on arsenal 3 in April.

april 2021, arsenal cinema

Online discussion on Otar Iosseliani

As part of our programme on our streaming platform arsenal 3 there was an online discussion with Erika and Ulrich Gregor and Barbara Wurm on April 13. The discussion can be seen on our youtube channel: Link

february 2021, berlinale forum

The Forum Programme Is Now Online

The Forum und Forum Expanded programmes will be shown for members of the film industry during the European Film Market (March 1–5) and will be screened in cinemas for the public from June 10–20, 2021. All information on the films and installations is now online and can be found here for the Forum and here for the Forum Expanded.

february 2021, edition

Arsenal Publishes Three Works on the Films of Med Hondo with Archive Books

The release of three publications on the work of filmmaker Med Hondo, who died in March 2019, marks the conclusion of the exhibition, festival and book project “Cours, cours, camarade, le vieux monde est derrière toi – Run, comrade, run, the old world is behind you – The Cinema of Med Hondo,” organized by Arsenal and curated by Enoka Ayemba, Marie-Hélène Gutberlet and Brigitta Kuster.

The two books and an e-publication, comprising an integral part of the overall project, are based on and expand upon a variety of events held at Arsenal, Archive Kabinett, SAVVY Contemporary and the silent green Kulturquartier in August 2017. These three publications bring together different perspectives on Med Hondo’s work and include a series of interviews with the filmmaker that have been translated into English for the first time.

Over the course of his long career, Med Hondo not only created films that address decolonization and the history of the African diaspora, developing new artistic means for doing so. He was also equally successful in developing alternatives to European and American production and distribution structures.