Close Up

7 - 11 December 2017: Neue Welt: Radical Visions in New German Cinema

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Tickets: £10 / £8 conc. / £6 Close-Up members
Box Office: 02037847970

Showcasing works across two venues by filmmakers, Alexander Kluge, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Peter Nestler, Werner Schroeter, Wim Wenders, and Peter Handke this programme explores a rich and radically unique facet of West German cinema, rarely shown in the UK.

Each of these filmmakers represents a specific break with the ‘past’ – the past referring here to the so-called Papakino of the immediate postwar era in the 1940s and 1950s. Of interest here is how they all have, despite their individual stylistic idiosyncrasies and in some cases even fundamentally oppositional ideas about cinema, a unique vision of the aesthetic and political possibilities of the image. This programme is interested in exploring how these filmmakers react, oppose, and complement one another, to mine their different sensibilities towards cinema.


Programme 1: Peter Nestler Shorts

By the Dike Sluice, Peter Nestler, 1962, 13 min, B/W, DCP
Mühlheim/Ruhr, Peter Nestler, 1964, 14 min, B/W, DCP
Ödenwaldstetten, Peter Nestler, 1964, 36 min, B/W, DCP
A Working Men’s Club in Sheffield, Peter Nestler, 1965, 41 min, B/W, Digital
Up the Danube, Peter Nestler & Zsóka Nestler, 1968, 28 min, Colour, DCP

Peter Nestler's films share a care for documenting the process of work, the inevitable changes time brings to a place, a locality, the digging up of buried histories. All five shorts in the program reflect these concerns, whether it be showing us the post-war industrial changes in a Swabian village, or tracking the meandering flow of the Danube, diving into its layers of history and returning to the surface in the process. read more


Programme 2: Not Reconciled

Not Reconciled
Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet
1965 | 55 min | B/W | DCP

Not so much an adaptation of Heinrich Böll’s novel, Billiards at Half-Past Nine as it is a distillation of its essential elements, Straub/Huillet’s second short is about the continuity of fascism in the post-war era, the inescapable persistence of the past in the present.  It is a reflection on German life as it is refracted through the lives of three generations of the Fähmel family, an excavation of German history, and the city Cologne. read more

Silver City Revisited
Wim Wenders
1968 | 25 min | Colour | DCP

An experimental short from his student days in Munich, Wenders directs his camera out the windows of the various apartments he lived in across town. Empty dawn streets, an endless flow of traffic and lights, a rural train station and other views punctuated by brief fades to black imitating an eye-blink. A study in the act of seeing and perception, a yearning to be elsewhere, away from the city, a film to daydream oneself into. read more


Programme 3: The Death of Maria Malibran

The Death of Maria Malibran
Werner Schroeter
1971 | 104 min | Colour | 16mm

Ecstatic, sublime, and endlessly strange Schroeters’ most celebrated film is series of tableaux depicting the life of the 19th century opera singer who supposedly died as a result of her overexertion on stage. Rich with literary and opera citations, exuding pure physicality, a mosaic of human expressions and gestures, juxtaposing operatic excess with kitschy pop music, scenes of pastiche Romanticism, and slapstick violence, the film remains a testament to the subversive potential of film as art. read more