Harun Farocki – Leben – BRD AKA How to Live in the German Federal Republic (1990)


Sterile practice
7 August 2010 | by oOgiandujaOo (United Kingdom)

My only previous experience of Farocki prior to watching Leben – BRD (How to live in the FRG) was Die Bewerbung (The Interview). The subject of that documentary film was the preparing of people who had difficulty finding work for job interviews. The movie highlighted how unnatural it was to be in a situation where you had to sell yourself (the training provides promotion of an unnatural self-awareness), where you have to project a compliant image for the Procrustean corporate scrutiniser. Leben – BRD expands on this limited scenario to provide a number of training scenarios. This includes training people to kill, provide obstetric care, separate those involved in domestic arguments etc. All this is interspersed with factory images of equipment being tested for longevity (for example a car door being opened and closed a thousand times by machine). It all comes off as quite banal and sterile programming. There is no room for personality, there is no room for personal connection. I’ve heard how feeling is something that has been outsourced to professionals (psychiatrists), here the psychiatrists are just as impersonal, running a child through a quick-march battery of standardised tests, getting a patient to draw a time series graph of the progression of their phobia, incapable of providing what the patient needs, a shoulder to cry on, someone to hug and understand. Read More »

F.W. Murnau – Der Gang in die Nacht aka Walking into the Night (1921)

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In the earliest surviving film by Murnau, a famed doctor strays from his wife and is seduced by a dancing girl. The dancer and her new conquest move to live in a village where their love is tested by the appearance of a mysterious blind painter (Veidt in a Caligari-esque reprise). Working from Carl Mayer’s poetic adaptation of the original Danish script The Conqueror, Murnau explores the spirituality of his main characters. Temptation, desire and isolation among lovers continued to be favorite subjects for Murnau, culminating in his 1927 masterpiece, Sunrise. Read More »

Samuel Beckett – Beckett at Süddeutscher Rundfunk (1966-1985)

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Samuel Beckett’s German Television productions for Süddeutscher Rundfunk.

Berühmt wurde Samuel Beckett als Theaterinnovateur (Warten auf Godot) und Romancier (Der Namenlose), der Literaturnobelpreisträger schrieb jedoch auch Hörspiele und inszenierte Kurzfilme für das Fernsehen. 1966 produzierte er für den Süddeutschen Rundfunk (SDR) im Rahmen der Reihe »Der Autor als Regisseur« das Fernsehspiel He Joe und schuf damit ein revolutionäres Stück Medienkunst. Bis 1986 folgten sieben weitere »crazy inventions«, wie Beckett seine TV-Arbeiten nannte. Immer wieder erprobt er, von den technischen Möglichkeiten des Theaters zunehmend enttäuscht, neue Arrangements für Stimme und Schweigen, für Raum, Kamera und Musik. Damit erfand Beckett, so Gilles Deleuze in dem Essay Erschöpft, neben den Sprachen des Romans und der Theaterstücke eine »Sprache III«: »Das Entscheidende beim Bild ist nicht sein kläglicher Inhalt, sondern die wahnsinnige Energie, die jederzeit explodieren kann.« Read More »

Wim Wenders – Arisha, der Baer und der steinerne Ring AKA Arisha, the Bear and the Stone Ring (1992)


In 1992, Wenders possibly bewildered a good portion of his fans by making a 30 minute short for children, titled Arisha, the Bear and the Stone Ring. It’s a fable about the Bear leaving Berlin (it’s the city’s emblem), featuring Wim Wenders dressed as Santa Claus…

The story description posted on Wenders’ website reads as follows:
The bear leaves Berlin. He’s fed up. On the way, two Russian ladies – Anna and her daughter, Arisha – hire him as their driver. During the trip, a Santa Claus who cannot stand Christmas, and then a Vietnamese family, join the group whose destination is a spot by the sea. There, on the beach, lies a stone ring, which wants to be found.
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Wim Wenders – Paris, Texas [+Extras] (1984)



Four years after he went missing, a man called Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) wanders out of the desert near the Texas/Mexico border in a catatonic daze. He is collected by his brother Walt (Dean Stockwell), an LA property developer who has been looking after Travis’ eight-year-old son Hunter (Hunter Carson) with his wife Anne (Aurore Clément) since Travis’ disappearance. They return to Los Angeles and Travis is reintroduced to his son, who barely remembers his father, or his mother Jane (Nastassja Kinski) who also vanished at the same time. Something terrible clearly happened to the couple’s relationship, but as Travis slowly wins Hunter’s trust, it becomes clear that he must also find his wife and make peace with the past. Read More »

Wim Wenders – Bis ans Ende der Welt AKA Until the End of the World (1991)


Plot Summary: Set in 1999, a woman (Dommartin) has a car accident with some bank robbers, who befriend and enlist her help to take the money to a drop in Paris. On the way she runs into another fugitive from the law (Hurt), an American who is being chased by the CIA. The charges are false, he says, that they want to confiscate a device his father has invented which allows you to record your dreams and vision. On the run from the bank robbers and the CIA, they span the globe, ending up in Australia at the research facility of his father (von Sydow), where they hope to be able to play back the recordings Hurt has made to his blind mother. Read More »

Wim Wenders – Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter AKA The Goalkeeper’s Fear of the Penalty Kick (1972)


IMDB User Comments (Frank from Iceland):

The Goalie s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick is the first collaboration of
Wim Wenders and Peter Handke, a collaboration which produced Wings of
Desire in 1987. In The Goalie, Handke and Wenders explore patterns of
thought and their relation to reality.

The main action of the film occurs in the first minute, where we get
one view of how the Goalie misses blocking a penalty kick and loses
the game for his team.

Later, we get to hear him describe the action and we also get a view
of the way it really happened, the videotaped highlights on the tv
news. They are three wonderfully different plausible representations
which each explain the result just as well. While only one explains
the goalie’s anxiety before the penalty kick, all three allow for his
anxiety afterwards. Read More »