Program

Film

Bauhaus – Myth of Modernity

The State Bauhaus was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius. This art school was revolution-ary: it set new standards in the fields of architecture, art and design until its forced dissolution in 1933. The Bauhaus is still regarded today as an important impulse for the avant-garde and classical modernism in art and architecture. The Bauhaus founded the "myth of modernity". Unique contemporary cinematic documents from the 1920s tell of the euphoria that accom-panied the movement at the time. On the other hand, there are current documentaries in which residents of Bauhaus houses report on their lives in "architectural monuments". Films by artists such as Käthe Kollwitz, Max Beckmann and others, who were influenced by the Bauhaus, will complement the programme.

The Black Cat

Villa Tugendhat
Germany 2013; Director: Dieter Reifarth; free from 0 years; 117 min - Villa Tugendhat by Mies van der Rohe from 1929/30 is considered an icon of modern architecture. A documen-tary now traces his history and that of a Jewish family: the Tugendhat family, the first inhabit-ants. Against the background of the political catastrophes of the 20th century, the film tells of the personal experiences of the inhabitants and users of this unique house.

The Black Cat
USA 1934; Director: Edgar G. Ulmer with Boris Karloff, Béla Lugosi, 65 min - A young couple gets caught by two eerie, fascinating men. Breathtaking film sets influenced by the Bauhaus, but also the style of New Objectivity, which makes the plot of occult machinations appear even more monstrous.

Bauhaus - Model and Mythos
Germany 1998 - Director: Dr. Kerstin Stutterheim and Niels Bolbrinker; free from 0 years; 117 min - The cradle of modern architecture and "industrial design" stood in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin until 1933. But the term "Bauhaus" not only stands for the building, it also stands for the artistic work of important artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee or Oskar Schlemmer. "Bauhaus" means a radical new beginning in design after 1918 and investigates the question of the position of art and architecture in society.

Away from all Suns – Constructivism in Moscow
Germany 2016; Director: Isa Willinger, 75 Min - Objectivity and functional aesthetics, building filled with radicalism and hope, these were the ideas of socialist housing construction in Rus-sia in the early 1920s. The few remaining architectures are dynamic, functional, collectivist and keen to experiment. "The short period of hope is consciously erased from our memories." What is life like behind the dilapidated and forgotten, formerly avant-garde walls of today? Constructivism and Futurism embody long-forgotten and unwanted times, a struggle has now broken out between the inhabitants, the artists, the architects for preservation, appreciation, against decay and forgetting.

Käthe Kollwitz – Images of a Life
GDR 1986/1987; Director: Ralf Kirsten with Jutta Wachowiak, Fred Düren; 96 Min- DEFA portrait of the artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), who was always close to the social move-ments. Beyond a series of stations in life, the film wants to trace their artificial impulse and relate it to the political events of the 20th century. Kollwitz grew up in Königsberg and studied in Berlin, where she lived in the former working-class district of Prenzlauer Berg. She produc-es graphics and sculptures and teaches at the Berlin School of Art. In the First World War she loses her son and becomes a radical pacifist. In 1932 she signs an appeal against the National Socialists and is expelled from the Academy of the Arts after taking power. She dies shortly before the end of the Second World War.

Max Beckmann – Departure
Germany 2013; Director: Michael Trabitzsch; 97 Min - The film about the famous painter Max Beckmann, who was decisively influenced by the madness of the war in the creation of his masterpieces. His numerous self-portraits are often an expression of strong human feelings such as vanity, contriteness, hunger for life and fear of death. He was often ahead of his time, for example with his work "Abschied" ("Farewell"), in which he points out the grave threats posed by National Socialism. Trabitzsch approaches this special artist by means of moving pictures, some of which were also created at original show places. Beckmann's private dia-ries and letters were also used to create a comprehensive portrait.

George Grozß in America - Beautiful in the Labyrinth
Germany 1992; Director: Norbert Bunge, Christine Fischer-Defoy with Anne Hamburger, George Wyland, 97 Min - George Grosz, born 26 July in Berlin, biting draughtsman and paint-er of the'Face of the Ruling Class', enfant terrible of the 1920s, accused of pornography and blasphemy, was one of the most popular visual artists of the Weimar Republic. It is hardly known that Grosz spent half of his artistically productive life in the USA before returning to Berlin in 1959. Like hardly any other visual artist, Grosz has also left behind a literary work that expresses his own situation in poems and letters: his contradictory path from a committed communist artist of the 1920s to a scepticism of any'ideology of world improvement' and of the effect of art in general is expressed in it as much as his reckoning with his former political friends. In view of the changes in world politics in recent years, George Grosz's texts are once again becoming more topical.

Paul Klee - The Tunis trip
Switzerland 2007; Director: Bruno Moll; /6 Min - Die Tunisreise is a journey to the Orient, unit-ing two artists who encounter each other's world with open and alert senses. Bruno Moll trav-els to Tunis, Carthage, Sidi Bou Said, Hammamet and Kairouan. The view is shaped by direc-tor Nacer Khemir, who as a world traveller creates mediation between Orient and Occident. We immerse ourselves in Paul Klee's pictorial and design elements, learn about his journey and the view of Tunisia from a time when the country was not a tourist destination. Nacer Khemir accompanies the viewer to the sites that characterise Tunisia and of which Klee has recorded many. The connection between the European and the Maghrebian view allows us to immerse ourselves in the Arab world. "Art does not reflect the visible, but makes it visible," was a credo of the painter, draughtsman and graphic artist Paul Klee. The trip to Tunis to-gether with August Macke in 1914 became a turning point in art, a new colouring and reduced forms.

M
D 1931; Director: Fritz Lang with Peter Lorre, Gustaf Gründgens; 117 min - Fritz Lang's clas-sic thriller with Peter Lorre as a psychopathic child murderer, whose crimes frighten a city. The underworld feels disturbed by the constant police controls and even blows to hunt the murderer. In the attic of an office building, the guards track him down and bring him to a tri-bunal. At the last second, the police can stop the lynch lawsuit.

Degenerate Art in Film

With the National Socialist takeover in January 1933, the free development of artistic forces in German film came to an end. Under the aegis of propaganda minister Jo-seph Goebbels, who appointed himself ‘patron of German film', the Reichsfilmkammer was founded in July 1933, to which all film-makers must belong. According to Nazi racial ideology, Jewish filmmakers are excluded from this. This reinforces the wave of emigrants that has been ruling since the Reichstag fire in February: Fritz Lang, Erich Pommer, Billy Wilder, Peter Lorre and many others are leaving the country.

From 1934, a new law on light shows subjects the entire German film industry to state control: from the selection of material to production and distribution. 1937 the nationalisation of the film industry follows. Mainly entertainment films are produced, but also literary film adapta-tions and historical portraits of heroic personalities. After the beginning of the Second World War, cinema should distract the population from misery, suffering and crime and keep them happy. But even the supposedly non-political feature films show a latent tendency to spread National Socialist ideologies and must therefore be seen in the context of this time.

Special provisions apply to propaganda films, which were classified as prohibited films by the Allies in 1945. These include films such as JUD SÜSS (1940), KOLBERG (1945), HITLER-JUNGE QUEX (1933), ICH KLAGE AN (1941) and OHM KRÜ-GER (1941), which contain a clearly racist, anti-Semitic, inciting and/or war-glorifying message. Since 1966, the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Foundation has been holding the former prohibition films. The today's so-called conditional films are not released for general distribution and may only be shown with introduction and discussion. (Source: Murnau - Foundation)

Port of Freedom

Venus on Trial
D 1941 Director: Hans Zerlett with Paul Dahlke, Hansi Knotek; 87 min - The sculptor Peter Brake, an early supporter of National Socialism, is an opponent of modern art, which he con-siders degenerate. To set an example, he created a statue of Venus in the style of Greek an-tiquity and buried it in the forest. When it was excavated in 1930, it was thought to be an an-cient statue two thousand years old. Peter explains in court that he is the creator of the statue, but they do not believe him and want to convict him of perjury. The only one who could testify to the truth is the young woman who was Peter's model for the figure. But since she is now married to a mayor, Peter doesn't want to cause her any trouble and keeps quiet. Only when she learns of the trial does she make a statement. This film is a reservation film.

Port of Freedom
D 1943/44; Director: Helmut Käutner with Hans Albers, Ilse Werner; 112 min - The former sailor Hannes is solo entertainer in the "Hippodrom" in Hamburg on the "Grosse Freiheit", which belongs to his lover Anita. Shortly after the reunion with three old acquaintances, Han-nes has to go to the hospital. There, on his deathbed, his brother asks him to look after a girl he has seduced. Hannes goes to southern Germany, looks for Gisa and goes back with her. There she first moves in with Hannes. He likes them and wants to build an existence for them both. But the night Hannes wants to get engaged to her, she doesn't come home: she has chosen the young shipyard worker Willem. When Hannes learns this, he also separates from Anita and goes to sea again with his friends.This movie is a reservation movie.

The Producers
USA 1986; director. Mel Brooks with Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder; 88 min; free from 12 years -
Max Bialystock is an unsuccessful Broadway musical producer. His best days are long gone, if there have ever been such days. But his bookkeeper Leo Bloom has a daring idea of how to get a lot of money in one fell swoop and only have to produce a pre-programmed flop to get the investment money. Such an obvious pipe-burner is also quickly found in the play "Hitler in Spring" by the egocentric Franz Liebkind. You're sure no one wants to see a Broadway play about Adolf Hitler. But far from it. The musical unfortunately turns into a real box-office hit and now Max and Leo are facing huge difficulties...

Monuments Men

Monuments Men
USA 2014; Director: Georges Clooney with Matt Damon, Bill Murray; 118 min; free from 12 years - When the Second World War draws to a close and Nazi Germany is increasingly pushed back on all fronts, Hitler issues the order that no works of art should be left behind for the enemy. Everything that is not to be taken shall be destroyed. To prevent exactly this de-struction of valuable, historical works of art is the task of the unusual American Platoon around leader Frank Stokes. Together with his friend James Granger and five other art ex-perts, Stokes goes directly to the Western front to contain the damage as far as possible. But the army does not understand the special unit and the men, who know much more about art than about war, have to fight hard for their respect...

to be or not to be
USA 1941-42; Director: Ernst Lubitsch with Charles Halton, Carole Lombard; 99 Min - "To Be Or Not To Be" is an early - and outstanding - example of the comic processing of the fascist reign of terror in cinema that continues to this day. Shot during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbour and the subsequent war entry of the USA, the film is both a fast-paced screwball comedy and one of the most humane propaganda films ever made. In a satirical farce, he confronts the obstinacy of neurotic theatre people with the murderous world theatre of the Nazi regime.

Jew Suss: Rise and Fall
D 2010; Director: Oskar Roehler with Moritz Bleibtreu, Tobias Moretti; 100 min; free from 12 years - In Berlin of 1939 Joseph Goebbels (Moritz Bleibtreu) made an unparalleled effort to expand his NS cinema production. If you want to make a career in Germany, you cannot avoid his latest prestigious project "Jud Süß", a propaganda film that will go down in film histo-ry as the work of a devil. The Austrian actor Ferdinand Marian is intended for the leading role, Veit Harlan will direct it. Marian's wife Anna points out that her husband will thus commit him-self to a highly problematic image. However, the actor, who had only been moderately suc-cessful until then, was not up to the pressure from Berlin. Without further ado, he tries to rein-terpret his role as a popular figure - and thus counteracts Goebbels' plans all the more...

Race

Look Who's Back
D 2015; Director: David Wnendt with Oliver Masucci, Christoph Maria Herbst; 116 min; free from 12 years - is it allowed? This question was already answered by Charlie Chaplin's fa-mous satire "The Great Dictator" in 1940 - one may! This still applies 75 years later. In the context of art and entertainment it is perfectly permitted to make fun of Adolf Hitler in order to fight the tyrant with the weapons of satire. But what happens when you laugh with Adolf Hitler instead of laughing at him? David Wnendt knows exactly on what morally dangerous mine-field he is moving with the film adaptation of Timur Vermes' bestseller "Er ist wie-der da". The director reverses the degree of tirades that a resurrected Hitler lets loose on his new people in comparison to the book and positions himself particularly clearly at the end. But the weaken-ing doesn't do much harm to the effect of the sharp satire, because "He's Back" is frightening-ly funny over long stretches, which makes real re-actions...

Race
Canada 2016; Director: Stephen Hopkins with Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, 123 min; free without age - Ohio, 1934; Coach Larry Snyder can hardly believe his luck: In the black athlete Jesse Owens he seems to have found the exceptional talent he has been looking for all his life. Together, the athlete and his coach celebrate one success after another and soon aim for a gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany. But when Owens feels that he has almost reached the goal of his sporting dreams, he is considering a boycott of the event, be-cause the Nazis have now seized power in Germany and want to use the Olympic Games for their racist propaganda. In the end, however, the athlete decides to get involved and to set an example for tolerance in Berlin. On the spot, with his unique sporting achievements Hitler's Nazi regime strikes a bitter blow...

Forum / Communal cinema

There will be an introduction to the movies by Lutz Gräfe, movie commentator at WDR, and others.
For details of the times and dates, please see our leporello and the flyer issued by VHS Leverkusen, Kommunales Kino in the Forum venue during the season.

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