Close Up

2 November 2019: Berlin Super 80: Films from the West German Underground

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E Dopo?, Brand & Maschmann, 1981, 3'15 min, Music by La Loora
3302, Christoph Doering, 1979, 14'35 min, Music by Die Unbekannten, Flucht Nach Vorn, MDK
Hüpfen 82, Wolkenstein & Markgraf,1982, 2'15 min
Sax, Yana Yo, 5'47 min, Music by A. V. Oertzen
Ohne Liebe Gibt Es Keinen Tod, Maye & Rendschmidt, 1980, 4'28 min
Formel Super VIII, Stiletto Studios's, 1983, 1'49 min
Hammer Und Sichel, Walter Gramming, 1978, 4'31 min
Morgengesänge, Georg Marioth, 1984, 14:09 min
Geld, Hormel & Bühler, 1982, 4'10 min, Music by Malaria
Fragment Video, Notorische Reflexe, 1983, 12'06 min, Music by Notorische Reflexe
Mein Papi, Jörg Buttgereit, 1981, 7'10 min, Music by Gundula Schmitz, Max Müller
Berliner Küchenmusik, Die Tödliche Doris, 1982, 5'17 min, Music by Die Tödliche Doris
Spanish Fly, Frieder Butzmann & Kiesel, 1979, 4'42 min
So War Das SO 36, Manfred Jelinski, 1984, 12'02 min, Music by Carambolage, Die Gelbs, Einstürzende Neubauten, Lorenz Lorenz, Malaria
Die Glatze, Klaus Beyer, 1983, 1'28 min, Music by Klaus Beyer
Craex Apart, Wolkenstein & Markgraf, 1982, 5'52 min, Music by Craex Apart

Total runtime: ca 97 min

A programme of eighteen short films shot in Super 8 by West German experimental film makers between 1978 and 1984. Featuring music by Malaria, Reflections, Einstürzende Neubauten, Frieder Butzmann and Die Tödliche Doris.

"In the beginning of the 1980s, West Berlin was a walled-off island of decadence in the middle of the communist DDR. An urban culture of bars and clubs was thriving in the city that lived at night. The cheap Super 8 film format, already becoming obsolete in the early 80s, was the cinematic equivalent of punk in Berlin. Cameras and projectors were available at flea markets for next to nothing, and, with the lightweight equipment, screenings could be arranged spontaneously in the seediest of venues. In a fevered frenzy the musicians, photographers, painters and filmmakers of the city's underground art scene collaborated in cross-disciplinary joint projects. Underground filmmaking became a cycle somewhat resembling a circular argument: filmmakers, who were often also musicians, started shooting performances given by their colleagues, which in turn would more often than not include screenings of works by their friends, and so on. "We became nocturnal creatures: dressed in black, cool, pale, untouchable. Naturally, this draining lifestyle called for the right "helpers", especially speed”, filmmaker Rolf S. Wolkenstein reminisces.

The best of these films were dark, apocalyptic visions, which combined various techniques in radical experiments of the filmic form. Music, performance and happening fused together in a variety of Super 8 club events (in such legendary places as Risiko and S.O. 36), as well as at the first Super 8 film festival, Interfilm 1, in 1982. Except for a few exceptions, such as Einstürzende Neubauten and Malaria, this proudly “amateurish” movement remained unknown but for a small circle of contemporaries." –  Avanto


Presented in parallel to our retrospectives on Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Jürgen Böttcher – organised to mark the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – Berlin Super 80 is part of a selection of disparate works that delve into Germany's recent socio-political past. Using Berlin as a starting point these films explore themes of exclusion, statelessness, memory, oppression and resistance, from the National Socialist Regime to the aftermath of reunification in the 1990s.


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