GERMAN CINEMA NOW! Braunschweiger Schule: Experimental Films from Germany
In-person: Oct. 27 at 7pm PT
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Series - GERMAN CINEMA NOW!
Braunschweiger Schule: Experimental Films from Germany
** Followed by a Zoom Q&A with directors Conrad Veit and Charlotte Maria Kätzl, moderated by Program Curator Martin Schwartz of Goethe Pop Up Seattle **
The monthly film series GERMAN CINEMA NOW! is curated by Goethe Pop Up Seattle. This year, the series explores themes of disruption and continuity to inspire public dialogue about the ways in which the past shapes our moment and can inform a radically different future.
** This screening, curated by Conrad Veit for Goethe Pop Up Seattle, is co-presented by Northwest Film Forum, Interbay Cinema Society, and Engauge Experimental Film Festival **
Image credits: Cropped stills from Veit & Kätzls Blastogenese X
Todays visual arts are hardly imaginable without the presence of the moving image, even if, as cross-border commuters between the art market and the film industry, filmmakers still find it difficult to assert their presence. However, in the Germany of the early 1970s, when the moving image still faced serious opposition within the established art world, it was a pioneering, practically visionary achievement when the University of the Arts in Braunschweig (HBK Braunschweig) had the bold idea to establish a seminar in film and video that understood itself wholly as visual art. In 1972, directed by Gerhard Büttenbender (later co-directed with Birgit Hein and since 2006 by Michael Brynntrup) the film department at HBK Braunschweig came into being. With it, something we can call the Braunschweiger Schule (Braunschweig School) has developed, encompassing to this day experimental films, video art, and multimedia installations that, far from conceptions of scenic-narrative feature film, testify both to a powerful visual richness and to an anarchic lightness, and demonstrate how diverse and colorful film can be if only it is afforded full artistic freedom.
Accordingly, when Goethe Pop Up Seattle approached me after the premiere of our film Blastogenese X at the Berlinale regarding a screening of the film and a possible accompanying program, it seemed only fitting to bring along a selection of films and representatives of this Braunschweig School, who arose from the same context in which I too was, in part, socialized into art. In the context of Blastogenese X, the program focuses on highly idiosyncratic, at times heightened staging of figurative performance. Common to all these works, whether by Mattuschka, Melhus, Brynntrup, Versum, or Charlotte Maria Kätzl and myself, is that, made with simple and quite limited means, they draw freely from the most various bits and pieces of film history and pop culture, consciously employing trash as an ironic stylistic device in order to give rise to strange, other, nearly iconic figures and filmic spaces. Conrad Veit, Guest Curator
NY NY N WHY NOT
(dir. Michael Brynntrup, 1999, 35mm, color, 4:13)
WALK / DONT WALK / WALK. The rhythm of the nineties. A musical stroll along Christopher Street.
(dir. Mara Mattuschka, 1993, 16mm, B&W, 10:25)
The world as a plaything for a giantess from outer space. A Godzilla-imitation on the way to herself: the giantess from outer space in the streets of a big city, fooling around, producing destruction, copulating with the Eiffel Tower. An orchestra of big feelings, the melodrama, defined in infantile sounds and absurd costume, in make-up-persiflage and grotesque body-art-performances. E.T. staggers through the night and the city, looking like Mimi Minus and grabbing little projected human beings with her hand, just like the huge, infatuated monkey of the horror genre. And the cinema of war and catastrophes watches with an open mouth until a toy city which desperately tries to be a real one finally collapses, laconically. (Stefan Grissemann)
Auto Center Drive
(dir. Bjørn Melhus, 2003, 16mm transferred to video, color, 28:08)
By quoting the most diverse identification models from the memory bank of 20th century Pop culture and its embodiment by Melhus himself, a completely new contextualisation of known roles is provoked. In a psychic sense the films creatures are animated by the voices of the non-dead dead (James Dean, Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison), who achieved eternal youth and media immortality only through their early death.
Fascinating Dollhouse (Faszinierendes Puppenhaus)
(dir. Uli Versum, Germany, 1987, 35mm, color, 9:00)
Brother and Sister live in the Dollhouse. Through the elegiac orange of sunrise, through desolate blues of dusk, Mother watches them. One day, Ades comes home to Brother and Sister. And then, horribly and insistently, lightning strikes.
Uli Versums short film is for its part a fascinating treasure, a very beautiful, very exact work about extremely inexact feelings, diffuse moods, and latent eruptions. Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, Dokumentation Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (1987)
Sweet as Candy
(dir. Conrad Veit & Charlotte Maria Kätzl, 2018, Super 8mm, color, 2:33)
Vulgar chamber play with Candys grand entrance.
Blastogenesis X (Blastogenese X)
(dir. Conrad Veit & Charlotte Maria Kätzl, 2021, 16mm, B&W, 26:39)
Conrad Veit and Charlotte Maria Kätzl stage an animal documentary set in stone quarries in which hybrid creatures deconstruct all boundaries between humans and animals and masculinity and femininity. The film transports viewers on a journey to the early days of silent films, revealing itself as a utopian vision in which all forms of life are equal.
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