Hito Steyerl – Factory of the Sun (2015)

In this immersive work, which debuted at the 2015 German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Steyerl probes the pleasures and perils of image circulation in a moment defined by the unprecedented global flow of data. Ricocheting between genres—news reportage, documentary film, video games, and internet dance videos—Factory of the Sun uses the motifs of light and acceleration to explore what possibilities are still available for collective resistance when surveillance has become a mundane part of an increasingly virtual world. Factory of the Sun tells the surreal story of workers whose forced moves in a motion capture studio are turned into artificial sunshine. Read More »

Jürgen Böttcher – Ofenbauer AKA Furnace Builders (1962)

At the Eisenhüttenkombinat Ost an der Oder, a new blast furnace is being moved to replace a burnt-out one. 2000 tons have to be moved 18 meters: Three times we hear it in the commentary. Master Klaus is now in command. His orders are to be obeyed at all costs. Men at work: tense faces, examining hands, the sound of screeching winds and steel cables stretched to breaking point. Everything is going well, and it is a new best performance: The downtime of the plant has been reduced from 80 to 40 days, the commentary says. Read More »

Dominik Graf – Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde AKA Fabian: Going to the Dogs (2021)

Berlin, 1931. Jakob Fabian (Tom Schilling) works in the advertising department of a cigarette factory by day and drifts through bars, brothels and artist studios with his wealthy and debauched friend Labude (Albrecht Schuch) by night. When Fabian meets the beautiful and confident Cornelia (Saskia Rosendahl), he manages to shed his pessimistic attitude for a brief moment and falls in love. Not long after, he falls victim to the great wave of layoffs sweeping the city, plunging him back into a depression, while Cornelia’s career as an actress is taking off thanks to her wealthy boss and admirer – an arrangement that Fabian finds difficult to accept. But it’s not just his world that is falling apart… Veteran German director Dominik Graf (Beloved Sisters) wowed audiences at the Berlin Film Festival with this dazzling adaptation of Erich Kästner’s classic of Weimar literature, set amid the twilight hedonism of pre-Nazi Germany. Read More »

Dieter Reifarth – Haus Tugendhat (2013)

Reifarth relates the history of the Tugendhat House and family from the perspectives of the Tugendhat children. The Tugendhat House is also presented in the social, political and cultural context of the modern Republic of Czechoslovakia formed after World War I; the German occupation; the communist regime; and the Czech Republic, whose formation was made public in a broadcast from the Tugendhat House. The descendants of Fritz and Grete never repossessed the house but always fought to have it restored and open to the public. In 2001 the Tugendhat House was designated a UNESCO World Heritage. From 2010 until the opening in 2012 a laborious technical and aesthetic restoration was realized. Read More »

Assad Fouladkar – Halal Love (and Sex) (2015)

Plot: Four tragicomic interconnected stories about how devoted Muslim men and women are trying to manage their love life and desires without breaking any religious rules. Read More »

Ulrike Ottinger – Chamissos Schatten (2016)

It starts with “Peter Schlemihl’s Miraculous Story”, which tells of a man travelling the world in seven-league boots. Adelbert von Chamisso wrote the tale before setting off to Russia on scientific expedition in 1815. He analysed the flora of Alaska and then explored the Northwest Passage, just like Cook and voyager Bering had done previously, the latter with physician and naturalist Steller in tow.
A porthole reveals the view. Thus begins Ottinger’s journey from Alaska to Kamchatka via Chukotka, with her predecessors’ log books to accompany her on her way. Read More »

Jürgen Böttcher – Im Pergamon-Museum AKA In the Pergamon Museum (1962)

A cinematic visit to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. The camera usually observes the visitors and paints their views on scenes of the ensemble of figures. The amazement at the beauty and grace of the antique sculptures is reflected in the faces of the viewers and emotion is palpable. The visitors come from all over the world – one sees Indians, Asians, Blacks. All age groups are represented, from children to old people. They come individually or in groups and communicate about what they see. The film gets along without any comment. You see more pictures of the visitors than of the altar. This means that it is important for the film to show the cultural interest of the people. Gerhard Rosenfeld creates atmospheric music with a classical feel to it. An early and extremely interesting work by the great documentary filmmaker Jürgen Böttcher. Read More »