How can a new kind of cinema be collectively created within a transnational society? SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA, the cinema-experiment by bi’bak, explores cinema as a space of social discourse, exchange, and solidarity. The curated film series brings together diverse social communities and connects places both near and geographically distant; it links pasts, presents and futures and moves away from a eurocentric gaze towards transnational, (post-)migrant and postcolonial perspectives. SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA is a different kind of cinema, one simultaneously committed to local and international communities, that understands cinema as an important public sphere of sociality; it considers film history as crucial to the work of cultural memory and is committed to a diversity of film culture and film art. In Haus der Statistik at Berlin-Alexanderplatz, SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA builds a bridge between urban practice and film to create a space that opens access, stimulates discussion, educates, moves, provokes and encourages.
SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA is funded by Haupstadtkulturfonds, Conrad Stiftung and the Programm NEUSTART KULTUR
Past event series can be found in the archive.
presented by Mikhail Lylov
The war in Ukraine takes away lives and destroys ways of living. Putin's military invasion unfolds not only on land, but aims to rewrite history and replace it with a mythological scheme in which Ukraine has no right for an independent existence. The aggression of the Putin-regime is an offense against a plurality of narratives, and against the right for a memory which differs from the ‘official’ ideology. This war is a test of our ability to think and act together. Although art cannot stop rockets or bombs falling on cities, it helps to establish zones of autonomy for personal memories, political reflection and critique; it creates concepts with which one can struggle for an open future. Such a struggle can only proceed through learning and understanding a variety of progressive political and social positions that have emerged in response to the politics within post-Soviet geographies. (Mikhail Lylov)
A fundraiser will be organized at the screening. All donations will go towards providing medical and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and supporting people displaced by the consequences of war.
The screening is followed by a statement by the artist and activist Marya Dmitrieva, presented by Mikhail Lylov.
Each film in the programme addresses a different fragment of life, a different space, where violence and the ways of dealing with its consequences reverberate. These spaces can be domestic and public, a shared history and a personal memory, mental spaces and landscapes. Authors highlight issues of the society that, on the one hand, had an open war zone on the eastern side, and on the other, has been reworking the positions towards its history and political alignments.
Letter to a Turtledove
Dana Kavelina, Ukraine 2020, 20 min. Russian OV with English subtitles
Letter to a Turtledove is an artistic reworking of found footage shot during the war in the Donbas region of the Ukraine. By intercutting this material with her own animated segments, staged mise-en-scènes, and archival images, Kavelina creates a feminist anti-war film poem.
So They Won't Say We Don't Remember
Yarema Malashchuk/Roman Himey, Ukraine 2020, 24 min. without dialogue
This video work is about both the hidden and the visible elements of the post-industrial landscape of the Donbas. In the film, locals and artists traverse the surface, following one of the underground routes of the Novator mine.
In Memory of Antonina Nikolayevna on Lost Love
Oleksandr Steshenko/Kateryna Libkind/Roman Himey/Yarema Malashchuk/Pavlo Yurov, Ukraine 2020, 30 min. Russian OV with English subtitles
In Memory of Antonina Nikolayevna on Lost Love is based on a screenplay by Oleksandr Steshenko - a person with down syndrome and a great admirer of the soap opera genre. The film uses the technique of alienation to tell a passionate love drama that escalates into revenge and domestic violence due to the conventions of a “normal” society.
Mykola Ridnyi, Ukraine 2017, 22 min. Russian OV with English subtitles
The main protagonists of the film are young people from Kharkiv, a city located in the Eastern part of the Ukraine. Their early twenties coincided with the breakout of the war in the neighboring region of Donbas. The proximity to the war has an effect on each of the characters and their activities. The protagonists react and reflect the political events through their specific relationships with the urban space and the reality of social media.
Marya Dmitrieva is a media artist and activist from St. Petersburg. She is a co-organizer of the queer anarcho-feminist group Studio 4413 which deals with the translation of contemporary critical theory into the language of everyday practices.
The screening is followed by statements from the artist and activist Natalia Tikhonova and the Media Resistance Collective, presented by Mikhail Lylov
If the history of the dissident movement and the history of the Gulag were taught in Russian schools, Russia might not be where it is today. If Ukrainian, Chechen, Georgian, Armenian, Belarusian, Tajik and Uzbek, Baltic, Finnish and Uralic languages were taught in Russian schools, Russia might not be where it is today. If feminist politicians dominated public thinking, we would not be talking about politics in terms of conflicts of interest between states or in terms of imperialist invasions. There would probably be less war crimes and no fascism, discrimination would not be promoted. Is it a coincidence that the hope of the broad anti-war protests in Russia rests on the mothers of future conscripts?
Street of our Memory
Tatjana Efrussi, Russia 2019, 23 min. Russian OV with English subtitles
“The film documents an event organized in December 2019 in Norilsk, Russia. Its central element was the guided bus tour around Sevastopolskaya street. In the 1940s, Sevastopolskaya was designed and built by the prisoners who were the main population of the Arctic camp-city. By the 1980s, a significant part of the original structures decayed and were demolished. The demolition provoked intense protest and debate among the Norilsk public, who still remember Sevastopolskaya’s houses and its atmosphere with nostalgia.” (Tatjana Efrussi)
All Other Things Equal
Anya Tsyrlina, Russia 2020, 20 min. without dialogue
Short films presenting the ordinary and extraordinary lives of women were a staple of state-sponsored Soviet documentary production in the 1970s and 1980s. What can we see today in these films? Do these images contain an idea of equality in society, how do they relate to “western” feminist ideals, thoughts and principles?
Vladlena Sandu, Russia 2020, 25 min. Russian OV with English subtitles
“A Self-portrait. In 1998 our family came under armed attack. We were able to escape and we fled Grozny (Chechnya). We have been silent about it since.” Vladlena Sandu tells an incisive and dignified story about herself, her mother and grandmother, the physical and psychological trauma and the ordinary existence of a refugee, including dog food, homelessness and intensive care. On New Year’s Day, Putin pays tribute to the soldiers who are “fighting terrorism” in the war in Chechnya.
Natalia Tikhonova is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher from St. Petersburg. She works with questions of memory, identity, as well as personal and political borders.
Media Resistance is a collective formed after the invasion of Ukraine to collect and propose strategies to support activists under political repression in Russia.