“Suddenly there was a powerful explosion, the earth trembled under my feet and the older people who had already experienced a war, thought this would be the start of a new one.” This is how Gulschara, a witness, describes one of the worst nuclear disasters to mankind.
On September 29th, 1957 a tank containing highly radioactive waste exploded at the Mayak nuclear facility in the south Ural region in Russia and released large amounts of radioactivity, which spread up to 400km northeast of Mayak. Due to the meteorological situation the contamination accumulated to the south Ural area, so that the warning systems in Europe weren’t triggered. The accident could therefore be kept secret for more than 30 years until the Perestroika.
In that time most of the people living in the affected areas were not properly informed. Many lived a normal life as if nothing had happened. Even today people have only been partially moved to a new settlement called New Muslyumovo, which is only two kilometres away from the old town and the Tetscha river, which originates in the secret area of Mayak and in which high-level radioactive waste was inserted repeatedly. “I am afraid of the radiation… but I don’t feel it a lot during day-to-day life”, says Nail, one of the residents of Muslyumovo.
The filmmaker uses the cinematic language to capture a danger, that is not visual nor perceptible, and to show the strenght of people and nature who has to cope with it.
The fascination of watching Damage is similar to the fascination of watching a car crash in progress–you know something unpleasant is going to happen, but your attention is riveted to the scene of destruction. In the case of this acclaimed drama, adapted by playwright David Hare from the novel by Josephine Hart, the destruction results from a collision of sexual attraction between a British governmental official (Jeremy Irons) and his son’s fiancée (Juliette Binoche). Blind to the damage they’ll cause to others and themselves, they begin an obsessive affair based purely on impulsive attraction and the hidden emotions that feed into their immediate physical desires. As you could expect, this leads to emotional fallout for everyone concerned, lending multiple interpretations to the film’s title and allowing Miranda Richardson (as Irons’s wife) to give a brilliant performance drawn from raw anger and betrayal. Under the direction of Louis Malle, this forceful drama never resorts to sordid detail or gratuitous titillation. Rather, Malle and his esteemed cast have explored the ways in which the power of sexuality supercedes the rationality of logic, when mutual attraction is stronger than one’s ability to resist temptation. Damage makes it clear that such an indulgence will always come at considerable cost. The DVD of this fine film includes a behind-the-scenes featurette and the original theatrical trailer. Continue reading
Here is an HDTV rip of the brand new digitally restored version of the absolute masterpiece “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. The film has been restored using the original camera negative, the result premiered on February 9th 2014 at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.
New York composer and multi-instrumentalist John Zorn presented a new composition on the Karl Schuke organ at Berlin’s philharmonic to accompany the film. This is the version that has been shown at the festival with his music.
A Russian Expatriate Adrift in Berlin
The most striking image in “Gorilla Bathes at Noon,” Dusan Makavejev’s whimsical cinematic collage set in present-day Berlin, is a gigantic statue of Lenin that stands as a ludicrous anachronism in the post-Communist era. In one of the film’s zanier scenes, Victor Borisovich (Svetozar Cvetkovic), an expatriate Russian soldier and the film’s main character, impulsively hoists himself on ropes to the statue’s head to wash its face. Moments later, the police arrive and ensnare him in a net from which he protests, “Ich bin ein Berliner!”
Not long afterward, workers begin detaching the head of the statue from its body. Lifted by crane, the severed head is lowered slowly onto a flatbed truck and carted off through the streets of Berlin. So much for Communism and kitsch monuments exalting its heroes.
Auf geht’s – West Germany 1955, 11 min.
Directed by: Ferdinand Khittl
Written by: Just Scheu
Cinematography by: Gerd von Bonin
Edited by: Hans Dieter Schiller
Produced by: Olympia-Film, München
One of the 3 short films that came as an extra on Edition Filmmuseum 47: Die Parallelstrasse AKA The Parallel Street (Ferdinand Khittl, 1962).
Documentary short on the Octoberfest in Munich.
Sven lives with his mother Edeltraut, who is suffering from dementia. He shares his entire life, the apartment, even the bed with her. During the day he works at a bank. While he is at work, Daniel comes to the apartment to look after Edeltraut. He takes her to hairdresser’s, goes for walks, shopping, and tidies up the apartment. But one day while Daniel is cleaning the windows, Edeltraut locks him out on the balcony and takes off. The two men go out looking for her. But what they find is not just Edeltraut, but also a tender fondness for one another, one which turns both of their lives upside down. Production note: “HEAVY GIRLS” was completed in just three months, from the original idea to the finished film. The film was shot based on a treatment, which defined the order and content of the scenes, the dialogues were improvised. In order to attain the greatest amount of creative freedom and authenticity, we intentionally shot the film without a crew and film team and with a simple Mini DV camera. Continue reading
A Film by Rosa von Praunheim Nurses on the night shift roll dice to see which AIDS patient will die next. The owner of a gay bathhouse gets Kaposi’s Sarcoma but tries to keep his mind on profits. An epidemic victim is harassed by a reporter on his death bed – he sticks her with a contaminated syringe. The government opens a quarantine called Hell Gay Land. Gay terrorists kidnap the Minister of Health. A black comedy filled with everybody’s worst fears, A Virus Knows No Morals is Rosa von Praunheim’s most controversial film to date: a savagely funny burlesque on the AIDS crisis. Irreverent yet deadly serious, the filmmaker covers just about every aspect of AIDS and its effects, as well as the rumors surrounding it. Since the 1960’s von Praunheim has produced a provocative body of underground films, making him one of the New German Cinema’s most original artists. “Brave and Vicious – Armed Camp!” – New York Times