GERMAN CINEMA NOW!
, a celebration of the bold, new, and fantastic in German and transnational cinema, is a monthly film series presented by Goethe Pop Up Seattle. In 2022, GCN! explores states of (apparent) stasis, sameness, and standstill, inviting viewers to look closely at the countless dynamic processes that are always underway, just beneath the surface.
Screenings will take place in person only
and are presented in partnership with Northwest Film Forum
. All ticket proceeds support Northwest Film Forum.
About the film:
Arthur Summereder | Austria, 2022 | 85 minutes
English & German with English subtitles
There is a clear line connecting techno music, city planning, the War on Drugs, Detroit politics, and Manifest Destiny. That line is the expensive, hazardous, wasteful, endlessly fascinating and extremely loud sport of drag racing. Here to make that case is Arthur Summereder’s Motorcity
, making its North American premiere as part of German Cinema Now!
“Before the run comes the burnout,” intones Summereder. The filmmaker provides calm commentary throughout in his soft Austrian accent, alongside Baroque organ music as well as tracks from the legendary producer “Mad” Mike Banks, of iconic Detroit techno label Underground Resistance. Summereder had not planned on making a film about drag racing. Like many of the racing teams he befriends, he simply became obsessed by the interplay of danger, engineering, camaraderie, consumption, and speed.
In addition to a reading of drag racing’s origins and an anthropological look at its rituals, his film brings a European aesthetic—and terrific audio—to the sport. The four-second standard run starts with a galvanic gathering of force and, once the brake is released, ends almost instantly. It allows one very nearly “to be in two places at once.” Summereder shows us weirdly captivating motor builds and harrowing crashes. He acquaints us with lovable gearheads like the color-blind mechanic who has difficulty with wires and Kari Anne Beebe, the Fastest Woman in Michigan, and interviews Detroit royalty like the city’s Chief of Police and Mike Banks—both tremendous drag fans who are agitating for a Wayne County drag racing renaissance. This intelligent film wears its smarts lightly, balancing its spirit of inquiry with due respect for raw automotive power. Motorcity
searches its own gaze for cultural elitism, while taking its subject entirely seriously. Can one, finally, be in two places at once? As Summereder’s light, agile picture demonstrates, the answer is a matter of perspective.
“Director Arthur Summereder grounds this fascination and its outgrowths in Ford’s city, Detroit, and distills from them a filmic meditation about ur-American values, ideals, and myths…Motorcity is also interesting and exciting for those with no interest in cars: a notable directing debut from a unique filmmaker, and an informative inventory of America’s culture and existential orientation.” – Film Plus Kritik
, Christian Klosz
is a commendable effort…shows the level of commitment, the heart, the soul and the passion matched only maybe with those of the drag racers.” Ubiquarian
, Marko Stojiljković
About the filmmaker:
Born in 1983, Arthur Summereder studied with Harun Farocki at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and is currently a PhD Researcher at Kunstuniversität Linz. He lives and works as a visual artist, filmmaker and editor in Vienna. He received 2019 Diagonale Prize for best artistic montage documentary. Motorcity
is Summereder's first feature-length documentary.