October 14-17, 2004
Zeughaus-Kino Berlin, Unter den Linden 2, 10117 Berlin-Mitte
Curated by Antje Ehmann in cooperation with the Zeughaus-Kino
Kinemathek DHM: 030 / 2030 4 421 (Mo.-Fr. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Box office: 030 / 20304 670 (Th.-Su. from 5:30 p.m.)
Admission: 5 Euro
The Festival "Shrinking Cities Film" - in parallel with the Exhibition Schrumpfende Städte // Shrinking Cities at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art - is devoted to the gang film, a genre in which the theme (Shrunken) City is portrayed in a wide variety of shades. Tracing the historical development of the genre, we will show films - highlights in their own right - that are especially characterized by a precise topographical gaze and spatial and sociological precision. The gang is almost always regarded as an indication of social decomposition caused by the condition of the city.
Program /// Thursday, October 14, 2004, 6:15 p.m.
Dead End, William Wyler, USA 1936, 93 Min., orig. vers.
William Wyler's "Dead End" from 1936 will begin our film series; it is also the earliest example of an astonishing gang film. Wyler depicts the clash of cultures between rich and poor on the docks of Manhattan. In an artistic studio set-up, the film shows hyperrealistically how children's gangs fall into the clutches of a notorious gangster, "Baby Face" (Humphrey Bogart).
Thursday, October 14, 2004, 8:30 p.m.
Germania Anno Zero (Germany in the Year Zero), Roberto Rosselini, ITA 1947-48, 78 Min., orig. vers., Ger.
In the destroyed and corrupted Berlin of the immediate postwar period, a youngster overfed with Nietzschean and Nazi ideas and under the influence of his homosexual former teacher kills his father and commits suicide. Rosselini ties this plot to a depiction of the life of children's gangs in the ruins of Berlin.
Thursday, 14. October 2004, 10:30 p.m.
Los Olvidados (The Forgotten ones), Luis Buñuel, MEX 1950, 88 Min. Ger. vers.
Mexico City in 1950. Neglected children in unkempt rags become petty criminals, pushed into a societal no-man's-land. Buñuel draws his surrealistic effects from social reality; and this realism is something very special.
Friday, October 15, 2004, 6:15 p.m.
Berlin - Ecke Schönhauser..., Gerhard Klein, DDR 1957, 80 Min. orig. vers., Ger.
The elevated railway on Schönhauser Allee is the meeting place for a group of young people who live in East Berlin, caught in the field of tension of East-West polarity. One seeks freedom on the street, the other one is fleeing his parents, a third is tempted by the charms of the West and, to earn a few Western Marks, steals identification papers for a group of smugglers.
Friday, October 15, 2004, 8:30 p.m.
Les Coeurs Verts (Green Hearts), Edouard Lunts, FR 1966, 95 Min., orig. vers.
A group of young people on the outskirts of Paris. The focus is on two Blousons Noir youths who return to their clique after a short prison sentence for petty crimes. They then pursue different strategies of life and survival.
Friday, October 15, 2004, 10:30 p.m.
West Side Story, Robert Wise / Jerome Robbins, USA 1961, 146 Min., orig. vers. w/ subtitles
Daringly transposing the Romeo-and-Juliet conflict into the contemporary New York of 1960, "West Side Story" may be history's first treatment of tribalism as a model of society. Wise and Robbins unfold this mythological/tragic dimension of the drama of migration so congenially that, to this day, the film has lost none of its relevance. The mythological dimension also justifies the film's length. We show it as a late night show, interrupting the chronology.
Saturday, October 16, 2004, 3:30 p.m.
Switchblade Sisters, Jack Hill, USA 1975, 90 Min., orig. vers.
"Switchblade Sisters" is one of the films that Quentin Tarantino's distribution company "Rolling Thunder Pictures" took up with a new copy and promoted as an astonishing early example of postmodern genre comedy. We owe him a debt of gratitude. The dionysian overdose of clichés, bad acting, and eccentric self-referentiality is as sexy as it is dismayingly amusing - a lonely point of light in the mini-universe of girl gang films.
Saturday, October 16, 2004, 6:15 p.m.
The Warriors, Walter Hill, USA 1978, 90 Min., orig. vers.
In the cult classic "The Warriors" from 1978, all of New York is meanwhile socially and racially segregated, and each district is controlled by a gang. The film narrates the events of a night when thousands of gang members set off for a meeting to consult on strategy. But all of a sudden, the masses are scattered and the "warriors" are hunted down. Their return from the Bronx to Coney Island becomes a breathtaking race through a New York in which no one neutral is out at night.
Saturday, October 16, 2004, 8:30 p.m.
Escape from New York (Die Klapperschlange), John Carpenter, USA 1981, 99 Min., orig. vers. w/ Ger. subtitles
1997. The plane of the President of the United States crashes in Manhattan, which is in the hands of criminals. This poses an acute danger to world peace, because he has with him an audiocassette that can prevent nuclear war. An ex-soldier and gangster is forced to retrieve the President and his tape within 24 hours. The film overwhelms with spectacular effects and dismays with the prospect of a Broadway controlled by aggressive thugs who climb out of the sewers like rats. Indispensable for the theme of shrinking cities, Carpenter's "Escape from New York" is the benchmark in the history of the genre.
Saturday, October 16, 2004, 10:30 p.m.
Deprisa, Deprisa! (Los, Tempo!), Carlos Saura, ESP / FR 1980, 98 Min., orig. vers. w/ Ger. subtitles
A band of youths in Madrid. Three boys and a girl commit brutal robberies, conducting themselves with a lightness that recalls a dance film. The youth of the post-Franco period acts as if it had no past. Saura's view of Madrid's treeless, dreamless suburbs is also excessively current. Two dizzying affirmations.
Sunday, October 17, 2004, 3:30 p.m.
The Outsider, Francis Ford Coppola, USA 1984, 90 Min., orig. vers.
The Outsider and Rumble Fish, two youth dramas, were made in rapid succession in the same year. Here, Coppola realized two remarkable, yet completely different variations and simulations of the 1950s youth-rebel film. In "The Outsiders", Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, and Tom Cruise act as an ensemble of living quotations in the golden light of artificial sunsets.
Sunday, October 17, 2004, 9:00 p.m.
Rumble Fish, Francis Ford Coppola, USA 1984, 94 Min., orig. vers.
As a post-gang film, "Rumble Fish" should really stand at the end of the series. But perhaps the chronological program we chose shows how prophetically Coppola worked here. In "Rumble Fish", names, places, and alleys are invoked, magically/mythically resulting in the phantasm of the "wrong side of the city", without indicating what the "right side" would be. The many subjunctives are a reference to the history of gang films, as well as to the reality of gangs.
Sunday, October 17, 2004, 10:30 p.m.
La Vie de Jesus, Bruno Dumont, FR 1997, orig. vers. w/ Ger. subtitles
In a former mining region, a group of young people who can expect nothing from the future kills time by riding motorbikes and working on their cars. The depressive atmosphere of the place permeates every image; and yet Dumont manages to evoke mystery in the smallest banalities of everyday life. This is the only film in the series that shows the effects of processes of shrinking in small-town and village regions.
Su, Oct. 17, 6-10 p.m.
Grüner Salon, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, 10178 Berlin.
With Diedrich Diederichsen (pop theoretician, Berlin), Harun Farocki (author, filmmaker, Berlin), Claudia Lenssen (film studies researcher/ journalist, Berlin)