The Berlin International Film Festival, whose sixty-eighth edition runs from February 15 through 25, rolled out the lineup for the Forum last week, and today, it’s added Special Screenings to the section. With notes from the festival:
James Benning’s 11 x 14 (1976). A newly restored 35 mm print of Benning’s first feature-length work, “composed of single shots, each of which individually narrate something and hold the film together via recurring elements.” Light Industry presented a 16 mm print in 2012, posting the image at the top as well as notes from Benning: “When I made 11 x 14, finally I thought I had something to say: I think that’s when I really became a filmmaker.”
Robert Fischer’s Der Film verlässt das Kino: Vom Kübelkind-Experiment und anderen Utopien (Film Beyond Cinema: The Dumpster Kid Experiment and Other Utopias). The world premiere of this documentary accompanies new restorations of Ula Stöckl and Edgar Reitz’s Geschichten vom Kübelkind (Stories of the Dumpster Kid, 1970). “The series revolves around a rebellious ‘Dumpster Kid’ played by Kristine de Loup, who always appears in a red dress and has various anarchic struggles with society.”
Adamu Halilu’s Shaiu Umar (1976). This “lost” film was rediscovered in 2016 and has now been restored. “Before becoming Nigerian prime minister, writer Abubakar Tafawa Balewa landed a bestseller with his biographical novella Shaihu Umar. In 1976, Adamu Halilu adapted the material into a film, which is set in the late 19th century and revolves around an Islamic cleric telling his life story, which bears the marks of slavery.”
Živojin Pavlović’s Kad budem mrtav i beo (When I Am Dead and Pale, 1967), “regarded as a key work of the Yugoslavian ‘Black Wave.’ Shot in 1967, it tells the story of the irreverent Jimmy, who wants nothing more than to make it as a singer, regardless of his lack of talent. This punk film bursting with music also explores the bustling outskirts of Belgrade, which back then were still a work in progress.” Premiere of the new restoration.
Joselito Rodríguez’s Santo contra Cerebro del mal (Santo vs. Evil Brain, 1961). The presentation of the new restoration accompanies the appearance on the panel discussion “Think Film No. 6 - Archival Constellations” by Viviana García Besné, “who attends as a representative of the Permanencia Voluntaria film archive in Mexico, which was heavily damaged during the earthquake in September 2017. The archive’s treasures include many of the popular films built around the character of luchador Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta alias El Santo, a wrestling superstar and actor who always appeared in his iconic silver mask.” In this film, shot in Cuba, he appears for the first time as “El Enmascarado.”
Mitsuo Sato and Kyoichi Yamaoka’s Yama–Attack to Attack (1985), a “portrait of the Tokyo district of Sanya, where day workers lived in wretched conditions and were exploited by Yakuza gangs in full view of the police and the Japanese elite. For documenting the excesses of a capitalism with fascist undertones, the two directors paid the price with their lives, as both were murdered by Yakuza henchmen. This underrated milestone in political documentary filmmaking will be screened at the Forum on a 16 mm print with English subtitles.”
Mohamed Zinet’s Tahia ya Didou (1971) “blends documentary and fictional elements into a poetic, biting, passionate portrait of the director’s home city,” Algiers. World premiere of the new digital restoration.
A Pink Tribute to Keiko Sato
“A considerable number of the Japanese directors most well-known today took their first steps with ‘pink film.’ What’s less well-known is that one of the driving forces behind the ‘pinku eiga’ genre is actually a woman, who was concealed behind the male pseudonym Daisuke Asakura. With its Pink Tribute to Keiko Sato, the Forum is showing three of the producer’s most original films.”
Atsushi Yamatoya’s Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands (1967) was written “in parallel to his script for Seijun Suzuki’s classic Branded to Kill, to which the former work undoubtedly forms a twin of sorts.”
Masao Adachi’s Gushing Prayer (1971), “one last attempt to couch social critique in sexually provocative form, before he turned his attention to political activism.”
Masayuki Suo’s Abnormal Family (1984), a “tribute to Yasujiro Ozu, who for all the stylistic similarities would hardly have been pleased by the degree of sexual permissiveness.”
Georges Méliès “Solitudes” Cine-concert, seven short films made between 1899 and 1907, each accompanied by solo performances by Sharif Sehnaoui (electric guitar), Khyam Allami (synthesizer, oud, drums), Magda Mayas (piano), Tony Elieh (electric bass, electronics), and Abed Kobeissy (buzuk, electronics). February 16.
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