Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028 Map
Sat, Mar 28, 2020
2:00pm

WEIMAR VARIATIONS
Encore Presentation! Matinee Screening!
Cancelled - Weimar Cinema Encore: Experimentation/Abstraction, New Identities, Gender & Politics
Presented by the American Cinematheque and the LA Phil

Due to public health concerns, this show has been cancelled. We hope to re-schedule these films later in the year.

Due to the success of our recent two-part Weimar film marathon, we are proud to present this encore screening of the series’ highlights, which merges the two programs’ dual focus on the formal and the political qualities of this fascinating period of film history.

Situated between the end of World War I and Hitler’s assumption of power, the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was an era characterized by unprecedented social freedoms as well as economic hardship. While commonly associated with German Expressionism and narrative film, Weimar cinema is considered equally influential in the realm of the avant-garde. From Dadaist art to city symphonies to abstract experiments with animated shapes and colors, Weimar cinema constantly broke new ground. Part one of our program offers a sampling of its styles, including Walter Ruttmann’s landmark film BERLIN, SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY. In part two, we explore the new identities emerging during the 1920s and the socio-political implications of this turbulent time, themes which can be traced even to the films of artists living today.

Films include:
“Lichtspiel Opus III” (1924, 4 min. Dir. Walter Ruttmann) The penultimate segment in Ruttmann’s series of groundbreaking animated experiments.

“Ghosts Before Breakfast” (1928, 9 min. Dir. Hans Richter) This eerie short is a famous Dadaist montage of everyday items inexplicably coming to life. With live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

BERLIN, SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY, 1927, 64 min. Dir. Walter Ruttmann. One of the groundbreaking works of Weimar cinema, Walter Ruttmann’s BERLIN, SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY is an impressive rhythmic collage of cinematic effects and documentary material. Predating Dziga Vertov’s famous MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA by two years, the film elicits comparisons with the Soviet montage aesthetic but develops its own editing principles, which align more with music and symphony than traditional forms of cinematic expression. Ruttmann takes his audience through a single day in Berlin with a series of five acts, each of which present a stunning portrait of everyday life at the peak of the Weimar Republic. Few films capture the rhythm and energy of the life of a city as does this unforgettable “city symphony.” With live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS (ANDERS ALS DIE ANDEREN), 1919, 50 min. Dir. Richard Oswald. Generally believed to be the first gay film in the history of cinema, this groundbreaking melodrama, created by director Richard Oswald and pioneering sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, was intended to denounce Paragraph 175 of the German penal code, which criminalized sexual relationships between men (women were simply not addressed). It follows the tragic gay love story of a famed concert pianist and his student, as they get blackmailed for violating Paragraph 175, leading to their ostracization, a jail sentence and finally suicide. The film was banned by censors in 1920 soon after its release. With its concerns unfortunately still pressing around the globe, it remains a fascinating cinematic appeal for tolerance and social change. Restored DCP courtesy of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project Collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive. With live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

KUHLE WAMPE OR: WHO OWNS THE WORLD (KUHLE WAMPE ODER WEM GEHÖRT DIE WELT), 1932, 71 min. Dirs. Slatan Dudow, Bertolt Brecht. Written by legendary Marxist author Bertolt Brecht, KUHLE WAMPE shows the effects of massive unemployment following the world economic crisis of 1929. Documenting the struggles and despair of countless workers competing for far too few jobs, it is an unadorned depiction of the consequences of unemployment and homelessness that feels very relevant today. Resulting in the mobilization of the working class, the film culminates with a protest march accompanied by Hanns Eisler’s workers chorus, “Solidarity Song.” The film was banned briefly in 1932 and then completely banned by the Nazis in 1933. In German with English subtitles.

“Election Campaign 1932 (Last Election)” (Wahlkampf 1932, Letzte Wahl) (1932, 13 min. Dir. Elsa Bergmann-Michel) The disastrous political consequences of the financial crisis become obvious in this chilling experimental documentary. This look at the Weimar Republic’s fateful last election of 1932 combines shots of political posters, streets overtaken by propaganda, random gatherings and altercations between people of differing opinions. Increasingly, an atmosphere of escalation and impending doom takes over. Bergmann-Michel was arrested while shooting and parts of her footage was destroyed; the film remained a fragment. With live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

Tickets: $8. | Screening format: DCP except "Ghosts Before Breakfast" (16mm) and KUHLE WAMPE OR: WHO OWNS THE WORLD (35mm)
Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian • Sat, Mar 28, 2020 • 2:00pm

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