FROM UNDERWEAR TO OVERKILL, OR B-CUP TO B-GRADE
Dessous take front and centre stage at 18:00 (6pm) at the 8th Berlin International Directors Lounge, a.k.a. [DL8] tonight, with the so-named program of short “Bra-Fitting” (World Premiere) and feature “Buy Me!” bringing a girl’s boldest obsession together with the world’s oldest profession. Then at 20:00 (8pm) we switch from street-walkers to street walking, literally, courtesy of Ivan Garcia (ES), whose “The Hard Art Of Strolling” takes us sauntering through Shanghai, Paris, the USSR, Japan and Barcelona at key junctures in their histories. A rare sort of documentary, 48 minutes of wayward wandering, in its German Premiere. And still more comes when the DL Selection V rolls through ten little gems, with Stephan Kaempf on hand with his 5-minute “Chaos”, plus one World and four German Premieres and more. (Almost) finally, at 23:00 (11pm), don’t miss guest curator Shaun Wilson’s “Creatures Of The Night” horror shorts special – films so bad (in taste, acting, technical quality, just about everything) they’re good, and deliciously so. All capped off with live music at midnight from the really good Susanna Berivan, a young singer/songwriter/guitarist whose repertoire defies categorization, spanning dirty country to Lady-Day-jazz to personal punk, stopping at all stations between with a voice of myriad shades. Wow. Another night with a bang at Naherholung Sternchen (behind Kino International).
pictured: Susanna Berivan by Jon Clay
SUDDENLY: IT CAME FROM HERE AND BEYOND
Fans of the sudden will like short films coming at them “Out Of The Blue” at [DL8] (the 8th Berlin International Directors Lounge), as curated and presented by Deborah S. Phillips, and including five World Premieres. Film titles like “PFFFHP TT!” can make you wonder just what you’ll be seeing. It all jumps at you starting at 18:00 (6pm). Then DL’s own Klaus W. Eisenlohr treats us to a program of Urban Observations and Local Studies at 20:00 (8pm), chock full of metropolitan moments. Look for Klaus there too, recognizable in his trademark fedora. Then still more follows, with the DL Selection IV at 22:00, getting underway with “Silhouette” by Astrid Busch (in attendance), and weaving its way through shorts from Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Italy, France and the U.S, with a couple of World Premieres in the mix. One film in this block is entitled “The Last Picture”, but we certainly promise you more. In Naherholung Sternchen (near Alexanderplatz at U-Schillingstr., second building behind Kino International)
pictured: 10 Moments by Wenhua Shi (Urban Research)
CREATURES OF TONIGHT: A CANARY, A ZEBRA AND PARASITES
There was a time when Sundays were considered, well, less than Saturday, but not in Berlin, and certainly not at [DL8] (a.k.a. the 8th Berlin International Directors Lounge Film Festival) tonight, with “My Sweet Canary” by Roy Sher taking us on a roller coaster romp of a ride through the life of 1930’s chanteuse extraordinaire Roza Eskenazi, the “Diva of Rebetiko”, who inspired male mania and more in Greece and Turkey of the day. Don’t miss it, at 18:00, or the Zebra Poetry Film Festival selection at 20:00, with Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel on hand to present the proceedings. Hear with your eyes and see with your ears…. Then comes “Parasiten der Ohnmacht” (“Parasites of Powerlessness” or “Parasites of Swoon”, depending on how you want to take it) at 22:00, with actor Birol Ünel reading bizarre and nightmarish short stories from the book of the same name by Miron Zownir. Also available as audio book set to music by F.M. Einheit of Einstürzende Neubauten. But live is live!
pictured: Halbdichtheiten by Ralph Kühne as part of the ZEBRA POETRY FILM FESTIVAL, selected by Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel
IN THE SWIM OF THINGS, AND MORE, DL-STYLE
Tonight’s brand [DL8] round-up includes special guest Simon Ellis (GB), a young filmmaker who has garnered a lot of attention since walking off with the Sundance International Jury Prize and the British Independent Film Award and 35 others for his unsettling and thought-provoking short “Soft”, which will be in the program along with a cross-section of his widely varying celluloid offerings. It’s all rounded up under the title “Swimming in Pictures and Sound”, and expect to do just that… and chat with Mr. Ellis himself. The rest of the evening is no slouch, either: DL Selection III has H.D. Motyl (US) in attendance, presenting “Nudes Descending a Staircase, #2” in Europe for the first time, as well as Alexandra Staples (GB) with “Static Cardiac Rhythms”, two of sixteen (!) premieres tonight. Lorenzo Karasz (AT) will be there in person with his and Florian Kogler’s “Fassadendialog” and George Groshkov (BG) with “Breakfast: Always on time”, too. The evening begins with a surprise program at 18:00 (6:00 p.m.) and Ost West Achse (pt II) providing Balkan Bond Blues” as live diversion starting at midnight. At Naherholung Sternchen, behind Kino International. If that doesn’t sound like something….!
If you want to know how a tango can be bitter or what happens when you follow your skin, make your way to [DL8] tonight, and find out… the Berlin International Directors Lounge Film Festival (in its eighth year) brings you such enigmatic subjects from a global crew of filmmakers. All in short films (from two to fifteen minutes), among them seven German, two European and six World Premieres… when were you last able to say you’d attended fifteen premieres in one night? “Irma” (Charles Fairbanks, US/MX) will provide an intriguing look at the former women’s pro wrestling world champion in what IndieLisboa’s Carlos Ramos describes as “a portrait built like a Russian matryoshka: surprise after surprise, revelation after revelation.” Maurizio von Trapp (GB) will be in attendance, world-premiering “Miss Mia Meows”, as native talent Claudia Guilino will be doing with thoughtful Buddhas in “Stony Sleep”. “Media In Motion” gets us going at 18:00, then two blocks of DL selection shorts get underway at 20:00, bringing Israel within reach of Italy and India next to Ireland, with much more thrown in… not a night you’ll want to miss. Screenings within spitting distance of the bar. Of course, at Naherholung Sternchen, behind Kino International.
The Wonders of the World stopped at seven; DL is going one better at eight. [DL8], the 8th Berlin International Directors Lounge Experimental Film Festival, is hitting Berlin in a new vein and venue, this year making the up-and-comer insider tip Naherholung Sternchen its stomping ground.
The reason for the move will be clear to all once they hit the doors, literally a stone’s throw from the iconic Kino International near Alexanderplatz: the location, a one-time thespians’ hangout already steeped in its own history, has clearly been waiting for this moment. This place wants to be, and [DL8] is the ticket make it happen.
There will be people you know and wish you did, performers, filmmakers and films, films, films, make no mistake – what you haven’t seen, what you don’t get to see, films not normed for consumption by the broad masses, but films of this length and that, free of clichés and predictable endings, free of everything you don’t need to see yet again.
How can we make it work? Bucketloads of dedication.
How can you miss it? There’s the question with only one answer. You can’t. Don’t. 1001 nights at the cinema, all in eleven days, films like you forgot or maybe never knew they could be made, films that will change the colour of your eyes and thoughts… on-beat, offbeat and everything between.
Conveniently run parallel to that other media extravaganza down at Marlene-Dietrich-Platz, but free of red carpets and frozen celebs. Photo-ops only if and when you make them.
If you don’t come on your own, we’re going to come and get you.
still from Glorious, 2009 by Guy Maddin
THIRTY FRAMES A SECOND, TWO HUNDRED MILES AN HOUR
DIRECTORS LOUNGE’S GUY MADDIN SHORTS HEADING FOR ESSEN
No longer an upstart after seven consecutive years and scads of films of every conceivable genre, the Berlin International Directors Lounge (DL to the initiated) is still free of formula, corralling batches of like-minded works into presentable groupings but not bowing to predictability. No one knows quite what they are going to see here. That viewers can move freely about, mounting stairs and draping themselves over balcony railings to take in what’s splashed onto the screen may add to the slightly helter-skelter atmosphere. Question-and-answer sessions with selected directors and performers can prove as offbeat as some of the offerings, and left field live performances take it over the top. For free. There is nothing else like this in Berlin, one of the hardest claims you can make in this city. DL, while still arriving, has arrived. Renowned artists such as Michael Nyman have chosen to reveal their newest visions here, and films are being sent for consideration by the hundreds from all over the globe, with their creators and stars often enough making the trip to see how it looks up there, larger than life. Add to that fast-appearing online reviews of films and audience reaction, and you’ve got the makings of a cult carnival waiting to be reborn on a yearly basis, like a child who enjoyed the process enough to want to give it yet another go.
It had to happen that Berlin’s DL and Winnipeg’s enfant bizarre Guy Maddin would come together, and this year marked the time, when the Berlinale jury member brought a handful of his short features to form the backbone of an evening dedicated to his peculiar view of things, as seen through the (filmic) eyes of the influenced, heard via live readings from his enigmatic book From The Atelier Tovar and not least declared by way of the master’s aforementioned shorts themselves. A bit of everything was there. The giddy tomfoolery of Nude Caboose, the frenetic, fetishistic mock-punishment of Sissy Boy Slap Party, the industrial expressionism of The Heart Of The World. The house was full and imagination running at full tilt.
Directors Lounge is, with Mr. Maddin’s blessing, showing these tasty celluloid morsels at C.A.R. in Essen, offering up a peak into many little worlds portrayed in a myriad of ways: playful, distressing, subtle, haunting, head-on. Maddin comes to DL comes to you, and you only need eyes and ears to make it work.
– Kenton Turk
still from Odilon Redon or The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity, 1995 by Guy Maddin
Beyond The Atelier Tovard , the collection of shorts by Guy Maddin, will be accompanied by works that are influenced by him, dedicated to him, or otherwise Under The Influence Of The Atelier Maddin.
A screening with Guy Maddin’s own personal selection of his short films, complemented by readings of the filmmaker’s book From The Atelier Tovar* by Kenton Turk.
* available at coach house books
photo by Michael Evgi
PRETTY TALK by MICHAEL NYMAN | A REVIEW by KENTON TURK
shown as part of Cine Opera
Insouciant goldfish slowed to supineness swim vacuously toward us and float languidly back out of the frame in this Nyman offering, at first reminiscent of countless relaxation videos. Underpinning the enchanting and warmly colourful scene, rich in tangerine and cyan, is placid piano and low string tones. A parakeet training record runs in the background, the stroking sounds of sofly murmured repetition, echoic phrases that our feathered companions will learn to in turn amuse and soothe us. “Pretty boy” is followed by “Clever little boy”, “Good morning”, “Mama’s little treasure” and a host of others. The gently swimming goldfish presented provide the counterpoint, and we are subtly made conscious of the role of these animals in our lives: the aural pleasure of the birds’ well-learned phrases counter-balances the visual pleasure provided by the fish. As the title suggests, we are presented with two enticements, the “pretty” and the “talk”. The viewer is left to bathe in sensual pleasures or perhaps resist the enticement to an all too pervasive (ab)use of pets. All comes to an increasingly disconcerting end as the melifluous female warblings are replaced by harsher, more insistent tones. The agreeable gradually gives way to the abrasive, and we are cordially escorted out of the scene…. Seductive and yet thought-provoking.
Pretty Talk screened in cooperation with Myriam Blundell Projects