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Visiting filming locations and other movie adventures with Jarno Mahlberg. Some of these locations have been covered elsewhere, but all represent my own research and view. Enjoy, comment and follow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Berlin International Film Festival 2017 / The Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen

Hello Berlin.

The first film that i saw at Berlinale was Fernando Birri's ORG, a monstrous, nearly three-hour long film that’s only rarely been screened since it premiered at the 1979 Venice Film Festival.
The story of ORG is based on the same ancient Indian legend that Thomas Mann also drew on for his story “The Transposed Heads”. ORG is an experiment in perception that features over 26,000 cuts and some 700 audio tracks.
ORG was partly funded by leading actor Mario Girotti, better known as Terence Hill. Viewing the film today provides a kaleidoscopic insight into the experimental, aesthetic and political trends of the 1970s.

The second film was The Bomb, an associative history of the atom bomb, told via a mixture of historical and contemporary footage edited together, deliberately eschewing a strict chronology. A death machine celebrated in bombastic military parades by the nuclear states, the film’s material shows how the bomb has lost none of its power and perverse fascination as Indians, North Koreans and British, all in their respective military uniforms, march in unison with their heads held high. This film has no commentary; rather, its experimental montage is designed to create connections and encourage us to give pause for thought.

Third film was Bruce LaBruce's Ulrike’s Brain, referencing sixties B-movies like They Saved Hitler’s Brain and The Brain That Would Not Die. Doctor Julia Feifer (Susanne Sachsse) arrives at an academic conference with an organ box. Inside the box: the brain of Ulrike Meinhof, which was saved by the authorities along with the brains of the three other leaders of the RAF after their deaths in Stammheim prison. Doctor Feifer can communicate telepathically with Ulrike’s brain, which is directing her to lead a new feminist revolution. To that end, she is searching for the ideal female body to transplant Ulrike’s brain into. At the same time, her arch-rival, Detlev Schlesinger, an extreme right-wing ideologue, arrives at the conference with the ashes of Michael Kühnen, the former German neo-Nazi leader and infamous homosexual who died of AIDS in 1989. When the two Frankenstein’s monsters of the extreme left and the extreme right meet, chaos ensues.

Then there was digitally restored version of Andrzej Żuławski's On the Silver Globe. After an emergency landing on a desert planet with an atmosphere resembling Earth, the surviving astronauts establish a new, shamanistic tribe. Video recordings of this raw, atavistic alternate world end up being sent to Earth and the astronaut named Marek is sent across space to the Silver Planet, where he is welcomed as a saviour. In a bloody crusade against the Sherns, the indigenous inhabitants, Marek becomes a military commander with a totalitarian streak ... Based on a series of books written by his greatuncle Jerzy Żuławski, Polish director Andrzej Żuławski has developed a comprehensive planetary mythology in visionary images, orgiastic crowd scenes and delirious monologues. After two years of shooting (including on location in the High Tatra Mountains, the Caucasus and the Gobi desert), the production was shut down by the government in 1977 because a newly appointed vice-minister of culture felt it expressed criticism of the system. The props and sets were destroyed. It was not until 1988 that Żuławski was able to finish this fragmentary, yet monumental theatrical version. The missing sequences have been replaced with contemporary images from Poland and a voice-over commentary by the director. Cinematographer Andrzej Jaroszewicz was talking after the screening.

And finally, Untitled. In 2014 the director Michael Glawogger died during his aimless journey through the Balkans, Italy, North and West Africa after contracting malaria just five months earlier. Two years after his death, his editor Monika Willi took on the task of completing his film. Combining hard cuts with a gentler, quieter style of editing she has shaped from Glawogger’s footage a fascinating, visually stunning document accompanied by a strong but unobtrusive mixture of original and composed sounds. Untitled is a restless film about movement and travelling, about the unknown and the other. Above all however – and this is what turns the magic of the images and the act of observing into a truly exciting experience – this is a film about the poetry of the arbitrary. A trip across the world in order to observe, listen and experience. A journey that is raw, courageous and honest.

And the there was beer...

texts edited from berlinale.de

Visited also The Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen.


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