Sep 7th 2022

Comfort Film in Partnership with Goethe-Institut: Kino x 3: Alexander Kluge – SHORT FILMS FROM 1960 TO 1970

We are screening short films from 1960 to 1970, almost never seen in Chicago, by the doyen of New German Cinema with titles like Feuerlöscher E.A. Winterstein, Porträt einer Bewährung, Lehrer im Wandel and Brutalität in Stein, proving that Kluge created some of the more convoluted and straight forward titles to his films.

Born on Valentine’s Day 1932, Alexander Kluge turned 90 this year. Alexander Kluge received virtually every film and literature prize that Germany has to offer, and that is only partially due to his age. After his law degree in 1956, he was called “Adorno’s favorite son” (Oskar Negt), spearheaded the founding of the Neues Deutsches Kino and, with his legal background and his charisma held together a group of 25 individualist as Fassbinder, Herzog, Wenders, Farocki, Schroeter, von Trotta, Syberberg, et al., publishing the Oberhausen Manifesto, famously declaring “Papas Kino ist tot” (Papa’s cinema is dead).
His films attempt to reflect the complications of post-war Germany, which means that you will hardly ever find a seamless narrative, since, according to Kluge, that is never realistic and lacks Zusammenhang (context). Instead you will find his ambitious protagonists going on tangents the audience is free to follow or ignore. “Der Film entsteht im Kopf des Zuschauers.” (AK)

“In his train of thought he remains the conductor” (Toni Kaes) and the audience is free to get off or follow Kluge, who, after all, chooses what we see and hear.

Brutality in Stone (Brutalität in Stein)
1960/61, b/w, 11 min
Kluge co-directed his first short film with Peter Schamoni entitled Brutality in Stone, a poetic montage film reflecting on the notion that the past lives on in architectural ruins; that the ruined structures of the Nazi period in particular bear silent witness to the atrocities committed.

Teachers in Transformation (Lehrer im Wandel) 
1962/63, b/w, 12 min.
‘Teachers in Transformation’
Kluge connects between education and situational occasion, and how they influence our morals. It all begins quite innocently but very soon the slow pacing speeds up and the the subject changes to how politics change our mental states.

Policeman’s Lot (Porträt einer Bewährung)
1964/65 b/w, 13 min
An account of a police officer who “proved himself” under such different political systems as the Kaiserreich, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich and the Federal Republic, because the fulfillment of duty was his highest professional imperative. A soberly critical film that makes clear how much this subordinate thinking stands in the way of democratic development.

 Fire Fighter E. A. Winterstein (Feuerlöscher E.A. Winterstein)
1968, b/w, 11 min
Kluge advocates a particularly subjective approach to history, evidenced in some of his non-fiction films featuring average individuals. In Fire Fighter E. A. Winterstein he at times dwells upon seemingly banal and undramatic moments, moments that would usually end up on the cutting room floor, moments that historian Judith Keene might call the “dandruff of history”.

Official Website

More events on this date

Tags: , , , , ,