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april 2018, arsenal cinema

Ruth Beckermann Retrospective

Ruth Beckermann has been making documentaries for 40 years. Her name stands for a political cinema that explores Austria, Judaism, questions of individual background and collective identity, as well as their fractures and ambivalences, on the basis of precise observation. The Nazi era, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and migration are subjects in all of her works. From a trilogy of films about Jewish life (WIEN RETOUR, DIE PAPIERENE BRÜCKE, NACH JERUSALEM) to her first and only feature film so far, DIE GETRÄUMTEN, and her current film WALDHEIMS WALZER, for which she has just won the Berlinale’s Documentary Award, Beckermann’s multi-layered oeuvre has been characterized by multi-faceted passages between the present and the past. Her examination of history always takes place alongside present constellations. A journey usually underlies her films, movement is their constitutive moment: the movement of a journey, quest, thought process. Beckermann does not seek to find a closed narrative form, but is consistently open to various approaches, with her film practice becoming freer and more essayistic over the years. She transmits her always personal perspective as an off-screen narrator and commentator; her documentary work is distinguished by the presence of her unmistakeable voice with its tinge of Viennese.

Arsenal is presenting a program of the 11 feature-length documentaries made by Ruth Beckermann between 1983 and 2018. We are very pleased to welcome the filmmaker for a series of Q&As from 19th to 21st April thanks to the support of the Austrian Cultural Forum. A book about Beckermann’s oeuvre published in 2016 (by Alexander Horwath and Michael Omasta) will be on sale at the box office.

april 2018, arsenal cinema

Time and memory: The cinema of Terence Davies

Time and memory are central elements of Terence Davies’ films. The British director was born in 1945, the youngest of 10 children. His childhood was overshadowed by his father’s violence and a repressive form of Catholicism. His understanding that he was gay was associated with feelings of shame and guilt. His works explore these experiences, from the early very autobiographical films to his later literary adaptations. The past and present are tied together in a unique fashion and the characteristics of memory, which is fragmentary and erratic, connected to emotions, music and individual people, are accommodated. Davies does not talk about the life of his protagonists as a chronological sequence of events but more as a thickly-woven rug of dreams and needs, encounters and disappointments. Caught up as they are in their own lives, the protagonists cannot escape their past, just as Davies’ films are not interested in linear narration. Long, still shots, associative montage and flowing transitions provide the aesthetic equivalence of this specific form of of exploring time. Arsenal will show all eight of Terence Davies’ feature films. We are very pleased to welcome Terence Davies on April 5 & 6.

april 2018, arsenal cinema

9. ALFILM – Arab Film Festival Berlin

The 9th Arab Film Festival Berlin – ALFILM will take place from 11th to 18th April at Arsenal and other cinemas. Feature films and documentaries will provide an extensive insight into the contemporary cinema of the Arab world and the diaspora.


A side program entitled SPOTLIGHT: Reflections on Arab Masculinities will explore the changing concepts of masculinity in Arab cinema from the 1970s to the present. A podium debate on 15th April with the filmmakers Merzak Allouache, Mohammed Soueid, Mohammad Hammad and Eliane Raheb as well as an audiovisual presentation by Rasha Saiti on 15th April will offer the opportunity to gain a profound appreciation of the subject and the history of film. The curator and author Rasha Salti divides her time between Berlin and Beirut, organizing international exhibitions and film programs related to Arab cinema and art. With support from Berlin's Senate Department for Culture and Europe.