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OV with English subs

Common Ground Presents: Portents of Climate Displacement

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Film screenings + performance by Luïza Luz

Artists and filmmakers are finding new ways to tell stories of ongoing climate disaster and displacement. In speculative and metaphorical ways, the three short films presented here connect legacies of colonialism with environmental breakdown and the extreme, not fully predictable ways it will force migration. These different artistic approaches reflect a climate reality that is at once abstract and hard to grasp, yet vehemently obvious. They offer perspectives that confront and warn us of how climate decline will continue disrupting livelihoods on Earth⁠—from elemental to human⁠—and how it inevitably intersects with racial and other forms of systemic injustice.

Thirza Cuthand, Canada 2018, 13 min.

4 Waters: Deep Implicancy 
Denise Ferreira da Silva/Arjuna Neuman, USA/UK 2019, 31 min.

Jorge Jácome, Portugal 2017, 23 min.

Thirza Cuthand, Canada 2018, 13 min.

Following the film program, Luïza Luz will present their live performance, ‘A Grounding Piece of Land.’

A Grounding Piece of Land – Luïza Luz
In this live performance, Luïza Luz presents authorial soundscapes, audio sampling collages, and lyrics they composed as a way of self-remembrance: of Planet Earth as an ever-changing living organism. A memory to be embodied by the collective experience. In times of climate and humanitarian collapse, this wisdom could be revealed as a grounding piece of land, in the middle of despair.

The program is part of Common Ground Presents, a series of events curated by Lisa Hoffmann and Adela Lovric, members of the initiative Common Ground at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Luïza Luz is a Bra𝓼ilian transdisciplinary artist addressing the binary nature-culture in language, identity, and institutions. Their poetics evolve from written and vocal words that become images, lectures, sound performances, installations, and collaborative (un)learning sites.

OV with English subs

“The gatekeepers exist to be overthrown”
  Amos Vogel – Repeats and Responses: Emigration

After the screening talk with Boris Lehman and Christoph Huber, hosted by Tobias Hering.

Boris Lehman, Belgium 1979, 34 min., OV with german subtitles

Bruxelles – Transit 
Samy Szlingerbaum, Belgium 1980, 80 min., OV with english subtitles

After Amos Vogel had visited the Forum of the Berlinale in 1981, he wrote an article about it for Film Comment. It began with a description of the emotional Q&A that followed Bruxelles-Transit, “Samy Szlingerbaum’s film of his family in the Nazi period spoken entirely in Yiddish. Present-day, nightlit, and empty Brussels streets, stylized tableaux of lyrical power, and his mother’s unrehearsed, taped recollections served as poetic representations of a 
past no longer available.” Boris Lehman, who played Szlingerbaum’s father in Bruxelles-Transit, had already shot a film which is in many ways complementary, Symphonie. “The hero of the film is Jacob Rabinovitch. He is a Jew. In reality, he is Romain Schneid, and as the latter imagines his condition in 1942. At that time, Belgium was occupied by the Germans and Romain, a child of 12, had to live in hiding with a lady, Madame Stine, in Etterbeck, a suburb of Brussels, where the Resistance was forming.” (Lehman) Amos Vogel saw the two films as a double feature in the Forum. The trauma of a man suddenly declared a pariah and the instability of a family in exile must inevitably have reminded him of his own biography. Having fled from the Nazis in Vienna as a 17-year-old, Vogel came to the USA with his family in 1938. The act of emigration, his Jewish roots and the extermination of relatives and childhood friends in the concentration camps left an internal texture that Vogel never denied but also only revealed at seldom moments. These moments were often when he came into contact with post-war Germany, whose seeming convalescence he followed with interest but also a large degree of skepticism. This evening is an attempt to approach Amos Vogel’s relationship to his emigré biography, mirrored in the two films and by way of quotes and texts by him.

“The gatekeepers exist to be overthrown.”
 Amos Vogel – Repeats and Responses is a program of Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art and is curated by Tobias Hering. It was made possible by funding from the Hauptstadtkulturfonds. 

Additional support from Berliner Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa

Tobias Hering is a freelance film curator, who recently presented at bi'bak the programme Freundschaft auf Zeit (2019) on contract work and internationalism in the GDR. He is currently responsible for the archive project re-selected at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. In this context began a research around Amos Vogel which has yielded, among other programs, the three-part tribute “The gatekeepers exist to be overthrown” 
through which Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art honors its long and close relationship to this New York film curator.

Boris Lehman is a Belgian experimental filmmaker and was born in 1944 in a Jewish family. He has collaborated with several filmmakers, including Chantal Akerman, Samy Szlingerbaum and Henri Storck. He has directed and produced about 500 films and is considered an ‘unclassifiable’ filmmaker in the landscape of Belgian independent cinematography. 

Christoph Huber is a curator in the program department of the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna, where he has been involved in the conception of several major retrospectives and is co-curating the series, “Amos Vogel Atlas”. From 1999 to 2014 he was a film critic and culture editor at Die Presse. Huber is the European correspondent of Cinema Scope and writes for several international print and online magazines.

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OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Róisín Tapponi

Cinécité + 75 فاطمة (Fatma 75)

Djouhra Abouda/Alain Bonnamy, France 1974, 15 min. 

فاطمة 75 (Fatma 75)
Selma Baccar, Tunisia 1976, 61 min.

Fatma 75 tells the story of Fatma, a young university student who embarks on a journey to highlight the role of women in the modern history of Tunisia. The protagonist encounters women across time and space, ranging from the ancient past to Tunisian liberation struggles. Baccar’s fascinating docu-fiction merges a narrative story with archival material, interview footage and reenactments of historical events. Cinécitébelongs to a series of 16mm experimental films by Algerian-French musician Djouhra Abouda and architect Alain Bonnamy. The film is grounded on a musical score, where sound dictates the rhythm of an assemblage of audiovisual material.

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Róisín Tapponi is an Assyrian Iraqi-Irish film curator, programmer, writer and academic based in London.  She is Founder of Habibi Collective, Founder CEO of Shasha Movies, Founder EIC of ART WORK Magazine and Co-Founder of Independent Iraqi Film Festival (IIFF). She has recently been awarded the ‘World-Leading PhD Art History Scholarship’ at St. Andrews University.

Director Kira Muratova USSR 1971

97 Min., OV with English subs

Долгие проводы Dolgie provody (Long Farewells)

After the screening talk with Eirini Fountedaki & Pia Chakraverti-Würthwein and a special guest

Kira Muratova’s second feature film Long Farewellsrevolves around an anticipated departure: Evgenia, an overprotective mother, struggles to let her adolescent son go, when she finds out that he does not want to live with her anymore. A “hesitation waltz” (Eugénie Zvonkine) of unfinished gestures, the film was considered “elitist” and “lacking in realism and motivation” by Party censors and was shelved for some years. Through jump cuts and musical melodies that rarely arrive at resolution, the film stands for Muratova’s trenchant cinematic aesthetics.

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Director Navina Sundaram FRG 1976

43 Min., OV with English subs

Meine Stadt, deine Stadt

With a commentary by Nanna Heidenreich
Followed by a joint discussion with Nanna Heidenreich and Merle Kröger

Navina Sundaram portrays the city of Mannheim from the perspectives of two workers: Heinz Schmid, a native of Mannheim, and Abdul Rahman, a guest worker from Turkey. Both work at the Mercedes Benz plant, Schmid as a skilled worker, Rahman as a laborer and union shop steward. Between the allotment, the carnival club and the new apartments in the suburbs, an image of a working-class city emerges that goes beyond bourgeois ideas of urban culture and urban history. Sundaram critically and persistently questions the concept of solidarity, extended to the relations between German and Turkish workers. Without false pathos, the film tells of latent and overt racism, but also of private happiness, material success and the fading dream of returning to Turkey.

Nanna Heidenreich is a media culture scholar and curator of film/video/theory/interventions. She has been a professor of Transcultural Studies at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna since October 2020. As a curator she has worked for HKW, Berlinale Forum Expanded, AdKdW Cologne.

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Current Series
Common Visions Berlin

Common Visions Berlin is a free space dedicated to our friends and comrades. Through events such as film screenings, discussions and lectures, Sinema Transtopia is shared with organizations and initiatives whose work makes a similarly important contribution to the visibility of the transnational urban society in Berlin. It is only through cooperation and collaboration that we move forward. As a Turkish proverb says, “What can one hand do anyway? Only two hands make a sound.” It is precisely this sound that we tune our ears to through Common Visions Berlin – a space of solidarity and exchange that brings together, encourages and inspires.

Funded by the Berliner Projektfonds Urbane Praxis in the frame of the project SİNEMA HERE N’ THERE

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Die fünfte Wand / The Fifth Wall

Archive screenings with films from Navina Sundaram

Curated by Merle Kröger and Mareike Bernien

Die fünfte Wand / The Fifth Wall

ARD, one Sunday evening in the mid-1970s, 7 pm: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to today's edition of Weltspiegel.” The name of the presenter: Navina Sundaram. An Indian woman on German television? As a political editor and foreign correspondent? Unimaginable! How do you read 50 years of contemporary German history through the eyes of a woman who had to fight for her visibility in a public sphere dominated by men and the German mainstream? Who to this day steadfastly refuses to decide for a single homeland, a single identity? And who has nevertheless claimed for herself the right: “come to stay”? Raised in New Delhi, she has worked as a filmmaker, travel correspondent and presenter since 1970. Straight-talking, she not only writes but intervenes. The Fifth Wall presents Navina Sundaram's domestic television reports from 1973 to 1983 to a Berlin audience for the first time. To take Sundaram's point of view, putting her reports, contributions and moderation at the center, means to look at the history of German television from both internal and external perspectives. Sundaram stands at the center as an author who takes a journalistic stand on internationalism and decolonization, the class question, racism, immigration, and Indian and German politics. The films are supplemented by documents, commentaries and other finds from the archive. Of course, always on Sunday evenings, always at 7 pm.

Funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe and in cooperation with the project Archive außer sich by Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art and the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

Navina Sundaram grew up in New Delhi, India, where she studied English literature before coming to Hamburg in 1964 for a two-year apprenticeship at NDR. From 1970, she worked as a political editor for the broadcaster. She is a filmmaker, reporter and a presenter for the programs Weltspiegel, Gesichter Asiens, Panorama and Extra Drei, among others. From 1992-93, she was ARD correspondent and head of the South Asia television studio in New Delhi. After ending her work for NDR, Navina Sundaram continues her work as an independent director of documentaries and is the author of numerous texts and lectures.

Mareike Bernien is a filmmaker and teacher in the field of filmic research and critical archival practices based in Berlin. A research-based practice determines her works, in which questions of memory politics and media archaeology are negotiated. Her most recent works include: Die Sonne liegt im Erdinnern (2021) and Tiefenschärfe (2017) with Alex Gerbaulet. For several years she has been part of the production platform pong where she also works together with Merle Kröger on the archive project Die fünfte Wand.

Merle Kröger is a novelist and film author living in Berlin. Together with filmmaker Philip Scheffner, she began making documentary feature films in 2007. In her novels, Kröger combines historical research, personal history and political analysis with elements of crime literature. As curator of the transnational cultural project “Import Export. Cultural Transfer between India and Germany, Austria” (2005), she began a long-term collaboration with Navina Sundaram.

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Sounding Womanhood

Feminist Gestures in Film

Curated by Pia Chakraverti-Würthwein & Eirini Fountedaki

Sounding Womanhood

Sounding Womanhood explores the layers of selves that women must wear, adding and shedding them in a daily “dance of the seven veils”. This selection of films subverts archetypal femininity and established gender roles, favoring a broader performance of womanhood. Through a transnational feminist lens, the films bring to the fore personal stories of women on the dancefloor, in transition, at the workplace, on the streets, and in their homes. Sounding Womanhood offers us the chance to re-think the uses of cinematic elements as narrative tools. From soundtracks that make music an additional protagonist to films that emphasize on screen audio, sound is a crucial thread for reversing cinematic stereotypes on womanhood.

Funded by Berliner Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa

Pia Chakraverti-Würthwein & Eirini Fountedaki form a curatorial duo interested in embodied knowledge and collective reflections through film. They co-curated the film series Residing in the Borderlands at SAVVY Contemporary, and participated in the Berlin Biennial 11 curatorial workshop how now to gather. They also co-edited the publication How does the world breathe now? Film as Witness, Archive, and Political Tool (Archive Books, 2021).

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Super 8 + Bioentwickeln

¡Kino, Kaffee, Kompostol!

Saturday 15.01.2022 11-17:00
Sunday  16.01.2022 11-17:00 
Saturday 22.01.2022 11-17:00
Sunday  23.01.2022 11-17:00

Registration is closed because the workshop is fully booked! 

Super 8 is an extremely sexy material: It has unbeatable, deep blacks as well as nuanced grays and warm colors. It is mysteriously out of focus, natural-grained, not 100% plannable and comes, when the filmmaker extends her antennas properly, very close to the scenery, the happening, the story, the emotion.

 In a two-weekend workshop with Dagie Brundert you can now learn to develop your own Super8 film material - biodegradable with washing soda, vitamin C powder and something phenolic: coffee, tea, plant juice, vanilla, weed, red wine, coffee, tree bark, chili, red fruits, thyme, beer, flowers, potatoes, black tea, whiskey and much more!

As inspiration we use the gridded facade and the architecture of the Haus der Statistik as well as graphic structures of the cinema and the surrounding area.

Dagie Brundert studied visual arts and experimental film in Berlin and discovered her passion for (Super8) film in the late 80s. Since then she has taught herself everything she can and animated what she can. So she has now become a specialist concerning eco developed Super8 films!

Funded in the frame of SINEMA HERE N' THERE by the Berliner Projektfonds Urbane Praxis


CiNEMA of Commoning

Symposium, Screenings, Talks

CiNEMA of Commoning

In cooperation with Bangkok Screening Room (Bangkok), Cinema Akil (Dubai), Cinema ARTA (Cluj-Napoca), Kundura Sinema (Istanbul), Cine CCC (Santiago de Chile), Cimatheque (Cairo), Arkipel/ Forum Lenteng (Jakarta).

In 2021 bi’bak is planning a 4-day symposium titled “Cinema of Commoning” at its new space Sinema Transtopia at Haus der Statistik, Berlin-Alexanderplatz. From non-commercial cinema projects in Beirut, Lagos, Prizren, Berlin and beyond, international actors will be invited who are already involved in the development and design of a commons-oriented cinema. The symposium will bring together and further develop concepts and strategies for a sustainable cinema that is oriented towards both the local and global common good. Cinema will be discussed as an artistic and social practice, as a place of public discourse, as an agent of historical and cultural memory, and as a site to distribute film and video formats that are rarely accessible. The underlying focus is: what should and can cinema look like in order for it to represent a place of equal participation and a negotiation of diverse social relations? Namely, how can cinema become a place of commons? This question is particularly valid in a transnational society shaped by migration, with its constantly changing consumption habits and under difficult economic circumstances. Already since 2015 bi'bak has been developing a curated film and event programme that aims to give a space to transnational and non-European as well as (post-)migrant perspectives. Under the topics of “Cultural Memory”, “Transnationality”, “Collective Experience Before, After, and Beyond the Screening” and “The  Cinema Space”, the symposium offers the opportunity to take a look at the political, societal, aesthetic and social significance of a Sinema of Commoning. With discussion panels, film screenings and an accompanying publication, the symposium aims to strengthen cinema as a central site of public culture, cultural memory, and collective experience and sharing. 

Funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Berliner Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.

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