Film Festival Essay Film Festival 2017: Session #2

W.Dütsch_Fritz Lang Still © W. Dütsch: Fritz Lang

Sat, 25.03.2017

Birkbeck Cinema

43 Gordon Square
WC1H 0PD London

Thinking Cinema on Television: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), ca. 1975 (Screening 1)

The first programme in this series will be introduced by programme curator Volker Pantenburg and followed by a conversation with Werner Dütsch.
 
Please note that this event takes place at the Birkbeck Cinema.

 
Filmemigration aus Nazi-Deutschland- Teil 1 (Film Emigration from Nazi Germany - Part 1), Günter Peter Straschek, Germany, 1975, 16mm (transferred to digital), 60 mins, German with English subtitles.
 
Günter Peter Straschek (1942–2009) belonged to first group of students of the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (dffb). He started studying film in 1966 together with Hartmut Bitomsky, Harun Farocki, Holger Meins, Helke Sander, and others. His student film Ein Western für den SDS was confiscated by the director of the school, and the ensuing occupation of the director’s office led to the relegation of Straschek and other students in 1968.
 
This is the first episode of a five-part series consisting of comprehensive interviews with people who had worked in the German film industry before they were forced into exile during the Nazi period. Apart from some radio features and articles, this 290-minute TV programme remains the only published trace of Günter Peter Straschek’s lifelong work on the emigration of film personnel. He intended to publish a three-volume book, encompassing all available data about 3,000 emigrants originating from the centre and peripheries of film production. However, this book never materialised.
 
Fritz Lang, Werner Dütsch, Germany, 1974/1990, 16mm (transferred to digital), 45 mins, German with English subtitles.
 
Werner Dütsch was one of the most prolific commissioning editors at the WDR film department, producing work by Helmut Färber, Harun Farocki, Hartmut Bitomsky and many others. His Fritz Lang is a reworked version of an earlier program on the German director (Die schweren Träume des Fritz Lang, 1974). Like other commissioning editors at the WDR, Dütsch not only organised TV-retrospectives, and initiated and co-produced work by others, but he also worked as an author and director. Fritz Lang is organised as a dialogue between two voices (Dütsch and Martina Müller), addressing the main themes and obsessions of the director. The film is full of concise observations: “There is a lot of killing in Lang’s films; with energy, skill, and arrogance. Images of bodies, falling heavy and helplessly, follow. As if the dead, with their specific weight, wanted block the way of the living.”
 
About Werner Dütsch:

Born in 1939, Werner Dütsch was commissioning editor for fiction films, documentaries and programmes about cinema at the WDR (West German Broadcasting Station) in Cologne for over three decades, and for over two decades he taught at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM). He has also worked for the Documentary Film Week in Duisburg for many years. He is the author of Im Banne der roten Hexe - Childhood, Youth and the Magic of Cinema in Postwar Germany (2016) and co-author of Lola Montez - eine Filmgeschichte (2002).
 
About Volker Pantenburg:

Volker Pantenburg is professor for Film Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. He has published widely on essayistic film and video practices, experimental cinema, and contemporary moving image installations. Recent book publications include: Farocki/Godard. Film as Theory (Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP 2015); Cinematographic Objects. Things and Operations (Berlin: August 2015, Editor); and Screen Dynamics. Mapping the Borders of Cinema (Vienna: Austrian Film Museum 2012; Co-Editor). In 2015, he co-founded the “Harun Farocki Institut,” a non-profit organisation designed as a platform for researching Farocki’s visual and discursive practice and supporting new projects that engage with the past, present and the future of image cultures.

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