Film Series Lutz Dammbeck Retrospective

© Overgames / Dammbeck Film © Overgames / Dammbeck Film


Anthology Film Archives

32 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Filmmaker in person on September 17 & 18!

This program constitutes the most comprehensive U.S. retrospective to date of the work of German filmmaker and multimedia artist Lutz Dammbeck. Dammbeck is not entirely unknown on this side of the Atlantic thanks largely to his ambitious non-fiction film, THE NET – a profoundly thought-provoking exploration of the links between Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), modern communications networks, and late-20th-century thinkers such as Marshall McLuhan and Timothy Leary. But THE NET is only the tip of the iceberg of a body of work that is extraordinary both for the radically different modes it contains – morphing from East German animations to decades-spanning experimental collages to documentary explorations of hidden corners of 20th century history and culture – and for the ceaselessly probing, deeply interdisciplinary nature of Dammbeck’s sensibility.

Dammbeck began his career in the context of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Born in Leipzig in 1948, he studied painting and graphic art, and eventually directed six short animated films for East Germany’s DEFA film studios. At the same time he was working on his own, more experimental short films, including METAMORPHOSES I – one of the first experimental films to be shown publicly in the GDR. This work marked the beginning of his long-term art project, the HERCULES CONCEPT, which Dammbeck conceived of as a total artwork (Gesamtkunstwerk) comprising research materials, media collages, photographs, texts, painting, dance, film, and music. He has continued to work on various sequences for and variations on his Hercules project ever since, as well as a related website,

In 1986, after many obstacles and official interference in his work, Dammbeck and his family moved to Hamburg, West Germany, where he continued working on the HERCULES CONCEPT and soon began creating the full-length documentaries that he’s become known for more recently – complex, carefully-researched, philosophical works that treat the topics of art, power, radicalism, and science.

This extensive retrospective – which will feature an in-person appearance from Dammbeck himself – encompasses all these varied dimensions of his body of work, including two recent films that have yet to be seen in New York: OVERGAMES, a brilliant examination of the history and influence of television – and, in particular, game shows – as a vehicle for mind control and manipulation, and BRUNO & BETTINA, which is structured around an interview with the 80-year-old Japanese scriptwriter, director, and guerilla fighter, Masao Adachi. Dammbeck is a filmmaker who freely and effortlessly dissolves the borders not only between cinematic forms but also between intellectual and historical realms that are usually strictly demarcated, and this retrospective represents an opportunity to rethink recent world history through the lens of his mind-expanding cinema.

The retrospective has been organized by the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and has been supported by the DEFA Film Library, DEFA-Stiftung in Berlin, and the program Wunderbar Together, an initiative of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the Goethe-Institut, with the support of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). Special thanks to Hiltrud Schulz (DEFA Film Library) and Sara Stevenson (Goethe-Institut New York).


September 16, 7:00pm
September 22, 6:00pm

September 16, 8:45pm
September 20, 9:15pm

September 17, 6:30pm
September 24, 9:00pm

THE PAINTER CAME FROM A FOREIGN LAND + DÜRER’S HEIRS  / Der Maler Kam aus Fremdem Land + Dürers Erben
German with English subtitles
1988, West Germany, 43min + 1996, Germany, 59min
Semptember 17, 9:00pm
September 21, 4:30pm

Japanese with English subtitles
2018, 105 min
September 18, 6:30pm
September 23, 6:45pm

THE NET / Das Netz: Unabomber, LSD, & Internet
German with English subtitles
2003, Germany, 121 min
September 18, 9:00pm
September 20, 6:45pm

German with English subtitles
2015, Germany, 164 min
September 19, 7:00pm
September 22, 7:45pm

TIME OF THE GODS / Zeit der Götter. Der Bildhauer Arno Breker
German with English subtitles
1992, Germany, 92 min
September 21, 7:00pm
September 23, 9:00pm

THE MASTER GAME / Das Meisterspiel
German with English subtitles
1998, Germany, 106 min
September 21, 9:00pm
September 24, 6:45pm

German with English subtitles
1986-2008, East Germany, 43 min
September 22, 4:00pm