entry: General Conditions

Art Cinema

The Berlin Wall – A Mirror of Germany´s History

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10 to 29 Nov

Die tödliche Doris: Naturkatastrophenballett (1983) e Naturkatastrophenkonzert (1983), 1’ 30’’ e 6’, German

The video clips Naturkatastrophenballett e Naturkatastrophenkonzert of the band Die Tödliche Doris, founded in 1980 in Berlin by three art students, can be understood as an art video project; in the square Postdamer Platz, very close to the Wall, situated in Berlin´s central zone, the band puts on stage the city´s deserted centre, pointing the finger at the ongoing denial of the “other side”, practiced by both parts.

Ramona Köppel-Welsh: Konrad! Sprach die Frau Mama (1989), 9’ 26’’ b/w, no sound

This film-collage is one of the few (illegal) documents that shows us images that come from the Eastern side of the Wall. The director manages to bring together and mount in brief staged sequences old scenes filmed by amateurs and images secretly captured on the border between the two Germanies. Thus comes to life a filmed poem, endowed with a claustrophobic density, about life in East Germany.

Hito Steyerl: Die leere Mitte / The Empty Center (1998), ‘62’, German, with English subtitles

For eight years Hito Steyerl observed the architectural and political transformations which occurred in Postdamer Platz. The great central square lay abandoned for decades, until the central political power came to occupy once again the Berlin Mitte. Simultaneously, there are people who are pushed out to the city´s peripheral zones. The history of the square makes clear that it has always been necessary to establish a demarcation against immigrants and minorities, so that a powerful centre of the Nation could be erected. This film, however, strives to give a voice and a history to those who continue to be excluded from that centre.

Judith Hopf/Katrin Pesch: The Uninvited (2005), 16’, German, with English subtitles

The Uninvited is almost a documental portrait of a day in the life of a young family, who stroll around Berlin´s “Neue Mitte” (“New Centre”). The women directors focus on the effects that the transformations of the old barns neighbourhood – situated in the city´s geographic centre and the scenario for the underground culture and artistic scene – have on its inhabitants  .

Lars Laumann: Berlinmuren (2009), 24’, English

The film focuses on a particularly unusual relationship: a love story between Elja-Riita´s Berlin wall and the real Berlin Wall. The approach is not primarily documental, for the director is led by a genuine interest, knowing how to respect the specific aspects of marginalised social phenomena. He does not deal only with the strange deformations of contemporary popular culture, but also takes into consideration its genesis and the conditioning factors of the society which created them.

Sven Johne: The Tears of the Eyewitness (2009), 22’, English, with German subtitles

The film concentrates on the building of memories:  a documentary made for American tv on the Fall of the Wall aims at producing material with the necessary emotional consistency. Before starting shooting the actual film, a “motivational trainer” worked with the actor, drawing his performance to focus on certain events that occurred  in Leipzig and led to German Democratic Republic´s collapse and to the fall of the Wall. All these events are remembered in narrative form.


10 to 15 Nov

Gerd Conradt: Ein_Blick (1986), 11’, only music

Gerd Conradt places his camera near the window of a building in West Berlin and points it towards another building on the Western part of the city. Between the two buildings stands the Wall. For 12 hours, the camera captures one image per second, thus documenting the differences between those two daily realities.

 17 to 22 Nov

 Thomas Arslan: Am Rand (1991), 24 min’

As his final work for dffb, Berlin´s cinema university, the director of German and Turkish descent Thomas Arslan films along the space where the Wall once stood, weaving images and present day places with memories of the time when the Wall still occupied that space. Arslan´s narrative does not feed on the causal need for building a plot, but instead focuses on insistent observation, on the spaces´ own dynamic and the movement that manifests within them.

24 to 29 Nov

Shinkichi Tarjiri: Berlin Wall (1969/70), 20’ 35”, b/w, no sound

At the end of the 1960s, Shinkichi Tarjiri, an artist of Japanese descent, born in the USA and who later lived in Paris and in Holland, came to Berlin with a grant from the DAAD. Influenced by a strong link with the old members of the group of artists CoBrA (Constant, Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, among others), Tarjiri delves during those years on the relationship between expression and emotion, rational and irrational and the subconscious, as well as on the influence that the public space has on the individual and his artistic work. Made a few years after the construction of the Wall, the film documents his attempt at reflecting on the effects of that dramatic architectural and building intervention.


18 Nov 19h30

KP Brehmer – Walkings I-VI (1969/70), 15’, b/w, English

Taking the concrete example of the Berlin Wall, this experimental film explores in six sequences the relationship between space and time and between a place and its identity. The sequences coincide with experiences that Brehmer goes through with his camera. For example, his friend Stanley Brown had asked him, after an outing that both of them made to the city, that he film the walk they had taken along the Wall once again. For this other Walk, the director tries to conjugate the time factor with the distance covered while walking towards the Wall.

Cynthia Beatt: The Invisible Frame (2009), 60’, English/German, with Portuguese subtitles

In 1988, Cynthia Beatt and Tilda Swinton made a bicycle trip that followed the course of the Berlin Wall. That is how the short film Cycling the Frame came about which turned out to be an unusual historical document (this film made in 1988 is presented in the context of the cinema cycle shown at the Goethe-Institut – see above). Now, the director and the actress have taken the opportunity to repeat the trip and see once again the line the Wall cut through the urban network of the city: The Invisible Frame.

Marcel Broodthaers: Berlin oder ein Traum mit Sahne (1974), 10’, no sound

During the time he spent as a student with a grant from DAAD in Berlin, Marcel Broodthaers devoted himself to filming daily life in the Western part of the city. Sequences filmed in the streets of the Charlottenburg neighbourhood alternate with images of Broodthaers himself – smoking, reading with glasses smeared with cream. This film is both a self-portrait and a homage that the artist renders to the city which welcomed him.