The Inexact Beauty of Early West German Cinema, 1949 – 1963
The fifties in West Germany are not a lost decade, as popular liberal mythology likes to have it—a silent one, maybe, similar to the States, but not a lost one. And, yes, the films of the period do tell this story. With all their unpredictable twists and turns of stories and fates, double and triple endings, clashes and/or layers of styles and genres, 1950s West German cinema bears witness to this surprising and often creative quest for a modern democratic state out of the rubble of a modern fascist dictatorship. (…)
Today, FRG 50s cinema remains essentially unknown abroad, and at home it’s considered a special case. Vanished from the screens big and small where it was still a formidable presence until the coming of the Berlin Republic post-‘89, badly preserved by the nation’s various archives, buried under heaps of clichés and truisms about the period long debunked by academia in fields like history or sociology, it has become more difficult than ever to discuss this era in German film history.
This program is a digest/variation of a much vaster retrospective on the subject presented at the Locarno Film Festival 2016 under the title Beloved and Rejected. Both were conceived as invitations to further exploration, as sketches of a map in dire need of textures and colors. In contrast to any earlier explorations of the period (in the late 1980s in the FRG as well as the early 2000s in the USA), attention was also paid to all aspects of production beyond narrative feature films, to give a more proper idea of the various riches to be found here.
Excerpts of the introduction by Olaf Möller, born, raised, still living in Cologne, writes about and programs films.
Saturday November 3 at 7pm
Friday November 30 at 9pm
Chased by the Devil
(Vom Teufel gejagt)
Directed by Viktor Turžanskij. With Hans Albers, Willy Birgel, Lil Dagover
West Germany 1950, 35mm, b/w, 100 min.
Dream in Ink (Traum in Tusche
Directed by Rolf Engler
West Germany 1952, 35mm, b/w, 9 min.
Saturday November 3 at 9pm
Friday November 23 at 9pm
No Way Back (Weg ohne Umkehr)
Directed by Victor Vicas. With Ivan Desny, Ruth Niehaus, René Deltgen
West Germany 1953, 35mm, b/w, 95 min.
Sunday November 4 at 7pm
Directed by Wolfgang Staudte. With Maria Schell, Raf Vallone, Käthe Gold
West Germany 1957, 35mm, color, 85 min.
Monday November 5 at 7pm
Sunday November 18 at 3pm
Directed by Rudolf Werner Kipp
West Germany 1949, 35mm, b/w, 42 min.
The Day the Rains Came (Am Tag als der Regen kam)
Directed by Gerd Oswald. With Mario Adorf, Christian Wolff, Gert Fröbe
West Germany 1959, 35mm, b/w, 88 min.
Sunday November 11 at 5pm
Avantgarde Short Films in 1950s West German Cinema
Introduction by Jennifer Lynde Barker
New Art – New Vision (Neue Kunst – neues Sehen)
Directed by Ottomar Domnick
West Germany 1950, 35mm, b/w, 10 min.
Directed by Franz Schömbs
West Germany 1946-52, 16mm, color, 5 min
The Miracle Table (Der Wundertisch
Directed by Herbert Seggelke
West Germany 1954, 35mm, color, 10 min.
Everything for Everybody (Alles für alle)
Directed by Hans Fischerkösen
West Germany 1955, DCP, color, 4 min
The Magic Tape (Das magische Band)
Directed by Ferdinand Khittl
West Germany 1959, DCP, color, 21 min
The Purple Line (Die Purpurlinie)
Directed by Florenz von Nordhoff
West Germany 1959, DCP, color, 14 min
Sunday November 11 at 7pm
The Eighth Day of the Week (Der achte Wochentag)
Introduction by Olaf Möller
Directed by Aleksander Ford. With Sonja Ziemann, Zbigniew Cybulski, Barbara Polomska
Poland/West Germany 1958, 35mm, b/w, 83 min.
Polish with English subtitles
Monday November 12 at 7pm
Olaf Möller in Conversation with Eric Rentschler
Redhead (Die Rote)
Directed by Helmut Käutner. With Ruth Leuwerik, Rossano Brazzi, Giorgio Albertazzi
West Germany/Italy 1962, 35mm, b/w, 100 min.
To All the Lonely Ones (Den Einsamen allen)
Directed by Franz Schömbs
West Germany 1962, 35mm, color, 8 min
Friday November 16 at 9pm
Friday December 7 at 9pm
The Glass Tower (Der gläserne Turm)
Directed by Harald Braun. With Lilli Palmer, O.E. Hasse, Peter van Eyck
West Germany 1957, 35mm, b/w, 104 min.
The Birth of Light (Die Geburt des Lichts)
Directed by Franz Schömbs
West Germany 1957, DCP, b/w & color, 11 min.
Friday November 23 at 7pm
A collection of documentaries and essays produced by the labor organizations as examples of realist cinema
Labor and Management (Werftarbeiter)
Directed by Wolf Hart West Germany 1951, DCP, b/w, 17 min.
A Car and Its Factory (Ein Wagen und sein Werk)
Directed by Curt A. Engel West Germany 1953, DCP, color, 5 min
People in the Factory (Menschen im Werk
Directed by Gerhard Lamprecht. With Kurt Beck, Kaspar Brüninghaus, Paul Bürks
West Germany 1957, 35mm, b/w, 27 min.
Layers Under the Haze (Schichten unter der Dunstglocke)
Directed by Herbert Viktor West Germany 1959, DCP, color, 15 min.
Directed by Haro Senft
West Germany 1961, DCP, color, 12 min.
Saturday November 24 at 9pm
The Miracle of Father Malachia (Das Wunder des Malachias
Directed by Bernhard Wicki. With Horst Bollmann, Richard Münch, Christiane Nielsen
West Germany 1961, 35mm, b/w, 88 min.
Sunday November 25 at 7pm
Many Passed By (Viele kamen vorbei)
Directed by Peter Pewas. With Harald Maresch, Frances Martin, Christian Doermer
West Germany 1955, 35mm, b/w, 85 min.
Through the Night to the Light (Durch Nacht zum Licht)
Directed by Hans Fischerkösen West Germany 1955, DCP, color, 2 min
Part of the Campaign: "Wunderbar together - Deutschlandjahr USA"