Divided Cinema: German Cinema at The Wall

Divided Cinema: German Cinema at The Wall

November 30 - December 16, 2009

Shaped by two world wars and three decades of imposed separation, Berlin bears the scars of the 20th century like no other city.  The currents of Cold War that overtook the world also swept up the metropolis’s many filmmakers. They turned to the city's most famous monument—the Berlin Wall—as a jumping-off point for their work.

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, DividedCinema juxtaposes films from each Germany.  Though politically and geographically opposed, the films share a deep concern with separation.  Some, like Jürgen Vogel’s And For Your Love Too, embrace it; others, like Wim Wenders’ classic Wings Of Desire, cast a melancholy air of mourning over their divided home. Berlin-Schoenhauser Corner follows East German youth who push the boundaries of separation, while Yesterday Girl examines the aftermath of crossing those boundaries.  Pulling together these experiences with division, two documentaries chronicle the wall itself. Look At This City is a DEFA documentary by Karl Gass that recounts the history of West and East Berlin from the end of World War II to the building of the Wall on August 13, 1961. The wordless documentary The Wall recounts the construction, separation and destruction, before a backdrop of history both banal and iconic.

Twenty years after reunification, Divided Cinema looks back on forty years of German separation.  In doing so, we hope to reveal two cinematic histories intertwined by their past but forcibly separated by their present.
 

Special thanks to Alexandra Bush; Eric Ames, University of Washington; Cordula Brown, Seattle University; Jason Dorree, DEFA Film Library; Goethe Institute New York

 

 

 

Wings of Desire

Nov 30 - Dec 01, 2009

(Wim Wenders, 1988, West Berlin, 35mm, 127 min)

Made in the late 1980’s, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, a feeling of division permeates Wender’s classic Wings Of Desire. Not only is Berlin a city carved in half, but its inhabitants, both human and celestial, are cut off from love and sensation.

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Berlin-Schoenhauser Corner

Nov 30 - Dec 01, 2009

(Gerhard Klein, 1957, East Germany, Beta-SP, 79 min)

Corner is set in a post-war but pre-Wall Berlin, in which rebellious teenagers deviate from the state’s socialist ideals in favor of running illegal currency-transaction rackets, fantasizing about fleeing westwards or getting pregnant.

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And Your Love Too (Und deine Liebe auch)

Dec 07 - Dec 08, 2009

(J├╝rgen Vogel, 1962, East Germany, Beta-SP, 124 min)

Directed by Jürgen Vogel, And Your Love Too is a declaration of love to the city of Berlin and an argument for the building of the Wall.

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Yesterday Girl

Dec 07 - Dec 08, 2009

(Alexander Kluge, 1966, West Germany, 16mm, 88 min)

This stunning feature debut by Alexander Kluge launched the movement known as the New German Cinema after the film's triumph at the Venice International Film Festival. 

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Symposium with Cordula Brown

Dec 09, 2009

At the center of this Symposium on Yesterday Girl [Abschied von Gestern, 1966]  is an examination of the beginnings of a new West Germany cinema which tries to establish, at the same time, a continuation of European avant-garde film tradition from before the Nazi regime.  Expect an interactive lecture with clippings and lengthy Q&A session. 

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The Wall

Dec 14 - Dec 15, 2009

(Juergen Boettcher, 1989-90, East Germany, 35mm, 98 min)

This unconventional documentary highlights the Berlin Wall, its last days and its highly anticipated destruction. Both common and historical moments are captured and presented without verbal commentary. This masterpiece reflects the soul of Berlin.

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Look at this City (Schaut auf diese Stadt)

Dec 14 - Dec 15, 2009

(Carl Gass, 1962, East Germany, Beta-SP, 85 min)

Look at this City chronicles the history of West Berlin from the end of WWII to the days following the building of the Wall on August 13, 1961, from the perspective of the leaders of the GDR. Today, Look at this City remains a provocative and informative time capsule from the Cold War.

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Symposium with Eric Ames

Dec 16, 2009

Join Eric Ames  as he discusses one of the very last films from East Germany, The Wall (1990) a film made by the artist, director, and political dissident Jürgen Böttcher. The lecture will combine close analysis of specific passages with open-ended discussion questions, while providing historical and political context as needed.

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