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Director Yasuharu Hasebe Japan 1970

80 Min., OV with English subs

Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss

Set in a psychedelic 1970s Japan, Ako, a rebel biker girl played by pop singer Akiko Wada, befriends the local all-girl gang boss, Mei (Meiko Kaji). When a war between local gangs erupts, Ako partners with Mei’s gang, the Stray Cats, to form a killer clique that combats rival gangs on the streets, in the boxing ring, and in clubs, where real life rock bands such as The Mops and The Ox perform live. With its girl-gang related street fights and motorcycle chases Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss depicts pink film’s sukeban (delinquent girl) trope. 70s youth acid culture oozes through the screen with kaleidoscopic cinematography, fashion and music. The choice of actors reflects Japan’s twentieth century waves of immigration: the boxer Kelly is played by the African-American-Japanese actor Ken Sanders, andAko by Akiko Wada, a descendant of Korean immigrants living in Japan.

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Director Corey Yuen Hong Kong 2002

110 Min., OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Mie Hiramoto

So Close

Followed by a talk on Zoom

When a gang of assassins murders their parents, two sisters inherit the family business – a state-of-the-art computer surveillance system. Armed with new skills, the sisters become the most accomplished assassins in Hong Kong. But after killing a wealthy magnate, an undercover detective is suddenly hot on their tail. Loyalties are tested, alliances are questioned and survival becomes the most extreme sport of all. As part of the second wave of the Girls with Guns subgenre, So Close is an updated version of the 1980s films that were built on strong, female leads portrayed with ostensible power. However, the film masquerades female empowerment under the guise of a highly sexualising male gaze. Expressed in definitive Y2K stylisation and featuring quintessential early-2000 gadgets, fashion, and special effects, So Close captures the new millennium’s techno-optimism.

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Mie Hiramoto is Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at National University of Singapore. Her research area focuses on gender, language and female appropriation of Asian masculinity in martial arts films. She serves as co-editor-in-chief for Gender and Language and associate editor for Journal of Language and Sexuality among other journal-related services. She also serves as Deputy Principal Investigator of the FASS Gender and Sexuality Research Cluster in NUS.

Director Kim Ki-young South Korea 1971

98 Min., OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Nikki Ji-Yeon Lee

Woman of Fire

Followed by a talk on Zoom

On a chicken farm, a love triangle is drawn between a composer, his wife and a young girl from the countryside. Through a series of twists and turns, their lives are thrown into turmoil when the new housemaid transforms into a femme fatale. Woman of Fire is a remake of Kim Ki-young’s classic The Housemaid (1960), stylized with the energy and passion of 1970s Korean cinema. A highly lurid chamber drama set against the backdrop of social inequality, the two women play games of seduction and trickery, ultimately descending together with the household’s male figure. Grotesque melodrama sits at the heart of this film, encapsulating the fatality and futility of women’s roles in the domestic horror genre. 

The screening of the film is supported by the Korean Film Archive.

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Nikki J.Y. Lee is a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. Her research interests include the history of Noir genre films in South Korean cinema and the globalization of the Korean film industry. In the School of Arts and Humanities at Nottingham Trent University, she mainly teaches Asian Media and Cinema and Documentary. Apart from her professional career as an academic researcher and lecturer, she worked as an independent documentary-maker; as an interpreter and translator for film-related events and media; and was involved in organising the first London Korean Film Festival in 2001.

Director Ouyang Chun Taiwan 1982

85 Min., OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Ting-Wu Cho

Woman Revenger

Followed by a talk on Zoom

After learning of her childhood friend Mei-Hua’s murder, dance teacher Ling-Ling heads to Tokyo to investigate. There, she clashes with vicious gangsters and loses an eye, prompting her to build a troupe of female fighters seeking revenge against the men who abused them – hunting and killing them in the wildest fashions. In the 1980s, Taiwan had been under more than 30 years of martial law. During the final throes of a violent dictatorship a cinema featuring the underworld of the city emerged, subverting decades of propaganda cinema to reveal a long suppressed collective consciousness. Immersed in a milieu of drug trafficking, gambling, prostitution, and violent crime, Woman Revenger is an example of this resistant cinema.

The screening of this film is supported by the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute and the Taiwan Cinema Toolkit.

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Ting-Wu Cho is a Ph.D. Candidate in Cinema Studies at New York University. Her dissertation project focuses on Taiwan Pulp, a group of understudied exploitation films in Taiwan in the late Cold War period. Her research interests include film industry studies, genre studies, media ethnography, and Chinese language cinemas, with a focus on Taiwanese film history. She is also a guest curator for Woman Make Waves International Film Festival, Taiwan.

Director Florence Miailhe Germany/France 2021

84 Min., OV with English subs

The Crossing - The Story of an Escape

The siblings Kyona and Adriel live in a small village. One night, the village is attacked and the family is forced to flee. When Kyona and Adriel are separated from their parents during a train inspection, they have to continue their way alone. Thus begins a long journey. The two make new friends, but the war and their own history always catches up with them. Gradually they grow up. Will they be able to see their family again and find a new home in a foreign land?

Inspired by her great-grandparents' flight from Odessa, the French animation artist Florence Miailhe worked for more than 10 years on The Crossing. After initial sketches, she painted the complete film on a cash register roll, before defining each scene. In intensive detail, the international animation team painted the film frame by frame. From around 120,000 individual images on a three-storey glass table, the world's first full-length animated feature film using this elaborate oil-on-glass technique was created.

Sinema Transtopia is showing the film in conjunction with the Anima-Doc workshop In the Realm of Animated Documentary by Akile Nazli Kaya and Tomáš Doruška.

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Contesting Authoritarianism

Perspectives from the South

Curated by Nafiseh Fathollahzadeh and Berke Göl

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Contesting Authoritarianism

In cooperation with the International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies

Contesting Authoritarianism features films that challenge authoritarianism, neoliberalism and (neo)colonialism on both political and aesthetic fronts, proposing social and formal innovations for a cinema that engages with collective action. The films in the program surpass individual heroic narratives to counter long-standing ideologies of inequality and tropes of otherness by proposing transversal approaches to filmmaking from the Global South. What promising emotive and visual strategies exist that can stand against authoritarian ideologies and affects? How can authoritarian populist discourse and communication strategies be subverted? What is needed discursively, figuratively, aesthetically, and emotionally for an internationalist, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist practice which has the capacity to mobilize political change? Contesting Authoritarianism spans different times and geographies, zooming in on the similarities and differences between authoritarian transformations worldwide, as well as between the struggles against them. It searches for spaces of encounter, solidarity, dissent and resistance to contest authoritarian regimes, movements and ideologies worldwide.

The cinema program is part of the conference “Contesting Authoritarianism. Perspectives from the South” which takes place at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Berlin between 16.05. - 21.05.2022. More information at www.irgac.org   

Sponsored by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany. Funded by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.

Berke Göl is a film critic and the editor-in-chief of Turkey’s leading independent film magazine Altyazı where he has been working since 2003. He is a member of FIPRESCI and the Turkish Film Critics Association (SIYAD). He served as a FIPRESCI jury member in numerous festivals, most recently at Berlinale 2022.

Nafiseh Fathollahzadeh is a lens-based artist working at the intersection of urban research and artistic practices. Their recent projectMomentography of a Failure builds up a multidisciplinary artistic and urban research platform for digital mapping and artistic collaborations. Fathollahzadeh is currently a Research Fellow with EUME.

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BITTER THINGS | LUCRURI CARE DOR | IASI

Narratives and Memories of Transnational Families

Curated by Malve Lippmann and Can Sungu

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BITTER THINGS | LUCRURI CARE DOR | IASI

After having been displayed in Timisoara, Cluj and Brasov, BITTER THINGS - Narratives and Memories of Transnational Families moves to the Palatul Culturii Iaşi in Iasi, Romania.

BITTER THINGS Narratives and Memories of Transnational Families is a research-based exhibition project by bi’bak that explores the impact of labor migration on the notion of motherhood and family from the perspectives of women migrant workers and the children left behind. The installation takes the experiences of transnational families from both the past and present as a point of departure and brings narratives together with objects that play a central role within the families.

Labor migration is worldwide creating new models of the transnational family, which despite geographical distances strives to maintain contact between the separated family members. In the time of the recruitment agreements in the 1960s, many parents were forced to leave their children behind since working hours were too demanding to make childcare on the side possible. Today it is predominantly migrant workers from Eastern Europe, who have to leave their families to earn a living in wealthier countries. Turkey, as a former country of emigration, has in turn become a destination for many workers, especially in the care sector, from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus or the Central Asian region.

But how is the relationship between parents and children to be redefined whenever gifts and material support take the place of shared experience? When physical closeness has to take second place to communication programs like Skype and WhatsApp? How does this changing family landscape impact children and their parents? BITTER THINGS retraces positions on this topic from the 1960s right up to present-day perspectives.

Besides the exhibitions, a publication has been released which includes academic and literary contributions, interviews, songs, and photos examining the topic from interdisciplinary perspectives. Order your copy here. A booklet with selected texts in German and photographs of the exhibition can be downloaded here.

Opening: 12.05.2022 12:00

In cooperation with Centrul Cultural German, Muzeul de Istorie a Moldovei in the context of Complexul Muzeal National "Moldova" Iasi, with the support of the Goethe-Institut

Malve Lippmann studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart and at the Institute for Art in Context (UdK) in Berlin. As a freelance stage designer and artist, she has been internationally responsible for the design of numerous performances, opera- and theatre productions. Since 2010, Malve Lippmann has been working as a curator and cultural manager, leading artistic workshops and seminars and is active in various cultural- and community projects. She is co-founder and artistic director of bi'bak and SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA.

Can Sungu studied film and visual communication design in Istanbul and at the Institute for Art in Context at the Berlin University of the Arts. He has given workshops and seminars in the field of film and published texts on film and migration. As an artist, he participated in numerous exhibitions, including at MMSU Rijeka, Künstlerhaus Vienna and REDCAT Los Angeles. He is co-founder and artistic director of bi‘bak.

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Upcoming
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CiNEMA of Commoning

Symposium, Screenings, Talks

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CiNEMA of Commoning

Cinema of Commoning, a project by bi'bak and various international partners, aims to bring together a network and gather knowledge of cinemas and cinema initiatives around the world.Through hybrid conversations, it hopes to create a statement that proposes a future model of an alternative cinema which is oriented towards the “commons” with regards to accessibility, artistic freedom and financial sustainability. The project takes place in two steps: From March on, a collectively curated film programme will be shown at partner cinemas in Bangkok, Jakarta, Istanbul, Dubai, Santiago de Chile, Cluj and Luanda. In June, a three day symposium will bring together partner initiatives, film professionals and cinephiles in Berlin in order to develop further concepts and strategies for sustainable spaces dedicated to film culture. By doing so, Cinema of Commoningargues for cinema as a transnational space for artistic and social practice, as a place of public discourse, as an agent of cultural memory and urban heritage, and as a site to preserve and distribute film and video formats that are rarely accessible. 

31.03. - 23.06.2022 Screenings in Bangkok, Berlin, Cluj, Dubai, Jakarta, Luanda, Istanbul, Santiago de Chile
24.06.- 26.06.2022  Symposium in Berlin

A project by bi'bak/ Sinema Transtopia in cooperation with Cine CCC (Santiago, Chile), Cinema Akil (Dubai, UAE), Kundura Sinema (Istanbul, Turkey), Cinema Arta (Cluj-Napoca, Romania), Forum Lenteng (Jakarta, Indonesia),  DocClub (Bangkok, Thailand), Cinema Geração (Luanda, Angola)

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

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Curated by Jade Barget and Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee

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Fatal & Fallen

Fatal & Fallen considers the trope of the deadly, fallen, and delinquent woman as pictured in East Asian exploitation films. Spanning the 1970s to late-1980s, the programme examines Japan’s sexploitation films, Taiwan’s Black Movies, Hong Kong’s Girls with Guns and South-Korea’s thriller films. These often marginalized genres feature underworlds such as prisons, brothels, and even homes as sites of crime, sexual desire, and revenge. Fatal & Fallenindexes the region’s socio-political context, when years of post-war depression, struggling authoritarian regimes, foreign military rule, Cold War and rapid industrialisation found an outlet in extreme often patriarchal and misogynistic – cinematic imagery. Whilst acknowledging the inscription of such problematic representations, Fatal & Fallen attempts to locate the socio-political knowledge arising from social negativity in film. Against this backdrop, Fatal & Fallen uncovers the dynamics of power and desire through the bleak yet charged territories of exploitation films. 

Fatal & Fallen was first presented at Singapore’s Asian Film Archive in the context of their Re:frame series from September – October 2021.

Funded by Berliner Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa and das Programm NEUSTART des Bundesverband Soziokultur im Programmteil kulturelle und soziokulturelle Programmarbeit

XING is a research and curatorial platform championing visual art practices from East Asia, Southeast Asia and its diaspora. It was founded by Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee and now co-run with Jade Barget.

Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee is an interdisciplinary practitioner who works between visual art, cultural and artistic research, and education. Her practice concerns iterations of slow violence and the unearthing of micro and muted narratives.

Jade Barget is a curator based in Paris and Berlin with an interest in screen and moving image cultures. Her research centers on the relations between media and memory. She has curated various programmes and assists in the programming of transmediale.

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Fatal & Fallen Workshops

The Fatal & Fallen workshop invites participants to critically engage with the charged socio-political territories depicted in East Asian exploitation films. 

First Day 
Friday 27.05.2022 18:00 - 19:00 

Jade Barget and Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee will introduce the research process behind the curation of the programme. In collaboration with artist Katarina Sylvan, the facilitated workshops aims to  reimagine and reappropriate the excessive space of exploitation films. The genres we are looking at – B-series, exploitation films – hold a marginal place in cinema history. Many of the titles of the genres have disappeared, and what remains are mainly posters, reviews, music and advertisements. 

Second Day 
Saturday 28.05.2022 11:00-17:00 (lunch provided)

We will undertake the making of our own experimental exploitation film in print form. Participants will be asked to bring images, fragments of text, or any other material inspired by the programme as well as their own research and consumption of exploitation film. 

Third Day 
Sunday 29.05.2022 11:00-17:00 (lunch provided)

The last day of the workshop will be spent creating the paraphernalia of our exploitation film. The participants will be asked to bring images, text, paper, stamps, and any material they see fit for the DIY print workshop.

Admission fee for lunch and materials 25,00 €
More information and registration details online

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Workshop Leaders Akile Nazli Kaya and Tomáš Doruška

In the Realm of Animated Documentary

This workshop focuses on how documentary and animation can be used and mixed creatively in filmmaking. Tomáš Doruška and A. Nazli Kaya, a duo whose films have been featured in numerous film festivals including Annecy, IDFA and BFI, will share their practice of stop motion animation techniques in a hands-on way.

Participants are encouraged to bring ideas that may include but are not limited to the following themes: migration, social and political justice, culture and environmental issues. Together we will discuss your ideas for mini-shorts (max. 7 shots each) before finally choosing 3 ideas to be realized.

Workshop (presence at all times is obligatory):

Friday, 03.06.2022 16:00-19:00
Saturday, 04.06.2022 11:00-18:00 (lunch included)
Sunday,  05.06.2022 11:00-18:00 (lunch included)

Monday, 06.06.2022 11:00 -18:00  (optional for those who want to finish their film)

3 groups (each group with 3-4 people) - total of 12 people.

Admission fee 25,00€ for materials and lunch

Register and find more information here

Gefördert durch das Programm NEUSTART des Bundesverband Soziokultur im Programmteil kulturelle und soziokulturelle Programmarbeit 

Akile Nazli Kaya is an animator, Filmmaker, and designer. Her work has been featured in a number of international festivals, including the Annecy IFF and IDFA. Together with her partner Tomáš Doruška, they have organized multiple workshops on classical animation and its uses in documentary filmmaking.

Tomáš Doruška is an editor, producer and mentor. He directed his debut 35mm movie Radhošť. He has also worked as a co-author on Ebb&Tide (2010) and Enclosure (2011), as well as an editor on How Big Is the Galaxy? (2018), which premiered at IDFA. Tomáš teaches at various film academies including FAMU Prague.

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New Woman, New Narrative

A program by C/LENS in cooperation with Sinema Transtopia

Curated by Tang Xuedan (Echo)

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New Woman, New Narrative

New Woman, New Narrative is a film series that explores the tension between Chinese women who live through a sweeping feminist awakening and the omnipresent patriarchy in China. Transgender girls, university students, lesbian activists – as women, they confront similar challenging realities and create extraordinary narratives. The selected films offer a chance to take an in-depth look at the development of feminist issues in contemporary Chinese society and how this manifests in individuals.We invite you to come together to explore: How do women cope with the complicated gender relationships in contemporary China? What are the conditions they are faced with? How is feminism perceived in both the activism and the micropolitics of women’s everyday lives?

C/LENS is a Berlin-based, non-profit film curation project that explores cinema as a space for transcultural dialogues by showcasing Chinese independent films that are rarely exhibited. The curatorship mainly focuses on socio-political issues regarding women, migration and urbanization represented in Chinese filmmakers’ works.

Tang Xuedan (Echo) is a Berlin-based cultural researcher from Chengdu. Before moving to Berlin, she worked as a documentary producer in China. She initiated C/LENS in 2022 as her fellowship project, one which reflects the intersection of her strong interest and ongoing research in cinema studies, feminism, and socially engaged practices.

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