May 18 - June 18, 2006
Film screenings within the framework of <reformpause> at various public locations (lecture halls, art room, seminar rooms).
A <reformpause> cinema will be programmed at various public venues (lecture halls, art room, seminar rooms), in which the examination and critique of educational institutions and concepts will be brought back to campus through historical and contemporary film and video works. The film selection is compiled by Marion von Osten in collaboration with Madeleine Bernstorff.
USA 1968, 85’ by Frederick Wiseman.
“High School is a film about power as exercised in an institution whose ostensible mission is to educate…. The beginning and the end show the school as a factory that produces a product.”(Reality Fictions- the films of Frederick Wiseman) Since the 1960s, American director Frederick Wiseman has worked on institutions that help manage society’s crises. His first documentary about a jail for mentally ill offenders (TITICUT FOLLIES 1967) was a scandal, until the mid-1990s the film was not allowed to be shown publicly in the state of Massachusetts. His films about welfare authorities (WELFARE 1975), about a HIGHSCHOOL (1968), about a hospital where mainly dying people are cared for (NEAR DEATH 1989), about a shelter in Florida (DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2001) or about a housing office in Chicago (PUBLIC HOUSING 1997) are characterized by a deep interest in the conflicts that drive people into institutions as well as by a perspective on the work of those who work there - without fading out the rules and repressions of the institutions. Wiseman works observationally, according to the method of direct cinema - without interviews, music, or commentary, and without falling prey to an ideology of “authenticity.” Wiseman, who does the sound in all his films himself, does not use off-commentary because he trusts the audience to draw its own conclusions. He wants viewers to be able to make their own relationship to the material, as if they were inside the institution themselves and had to figure out what was going on there. The shooting ratio is about 1:25, and the work at the editing table usually takes at least ten months.
UK, 1968, 111’ by Lindsay AndersonWith Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, Rupert Webster and others.
If… describes, from the perspective of three English college students, the state of Western society in the 1960s and, more specifically, of a post-imperial, post-colonial Britain. The title of the film comes from a famous Kipling poem that embodied the ideals of the British Empire. The Empire’s conflict over Aden, now Yemen, ended in 1967, at the same time that If…. was filmed. As the film progresses, the walls of the schoolhouse fill more and more with images from newspapers and magazines about protest movements, sexual promises, the Cultural Revolution, and African liberation struggles. The college attended by protagonists Mick Travis (Malcom McDowell) and his two friends (David Wood / Richard Warwick) is a miniature of social conditions. It is dominated by graduating students and nerds who control and punish the student body in the name of a liberal democratic school administration and teaching staff. Beatings, cold showers and other disciplinary actions against Travis and his rebellious friends anticipate the violence that was inflicted on student protest movements in Chicago, Paris, Berlin, Prague and Belgrade in May and August 1968. The film ends in a civil war-like battle against representatives of the church, the military, the school and politics. This finale refers not only to the revolutionary struggle in general, but also to the colonial wars of liberation. Although Lindsay Anderson’s “If…” is indebted to the pattern of the rebel film of the 1960s, and the role of women remains underexposed, Anderson forcefully emphasizes the erotic relationships that develop between the students, whether in submission or in friendship. This confluence of homosexuality, power dispositif, post-colonial critique, and revolutionary struggle was still an exception in the 1960s.
Das ist nur der Anfang – Der Kampf geht weiter
BRD/F, 1969, 45’ by Claudia Alemann, camera: French film collective.
In Paris in May 1968, students and workers went on strike, including the students of the Film Institute. While the professors claimed it took a long aesthetic and technical education to make films, the students demanded the use of film for political work. Thus, the students stole the university’s cameras, discussed with workers the use of film as a means of politicization, and made films that did not simply report on the working class but were developed with them. In this way, films were also made by the workers themselves, reporting on the concrete production and living conditions and the demands in the general strike. This operative film and media work emerged in the late 1960s from the experience of the Italian and French strike and protest movements, in which a practice of common struggles, also based on their representation in the public sphere, was central. Militant film practice sought to bring the concept of director, camera, and protagonist into a dynamic and non-hierarchical relationship. Knowledge production was no longer understood as a practice limited to the university, but the knowledge of working people and the knowledge of everyday life were valued as equally relevant. All were now experts, workers, intellectuals, artists. “…then we also experimented with new techniques, for example the “people’s television,” “télévision populaire,” which we did every day: with a video recorder that godard had lent us, we recorded the most important news during the day and then screened it again in the evening in pubs and bookstores, etc. at that time, there was no battery-powered video recorder, which meant that we had to work with a mains connection all the time and could thus only film in rooms. i made a film about all these experiences because i wanted to make these examples of “film as a weapon” known as an instrument for information and agitation in our country as well.” (Claudia Alemann in an interview in women and film no. 5 1975)
BRD, 1968, 5’ by Lutz Mommartzwith Jürgen Hillmer and Bruno Rückert
A fictitious farce … an accumulation of opening speech clichés … to be read out in the auditorium, where everyone was now sitting. With a few time-typical interjections! —
F, 1982 7’ by Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub based on the story “Oh! Ernesto” by Marguérite Duras.
“En Rachâchant” is first of all a text by Marguérite Duras. The Straubs loved it and because they loved it, they filmed it. Faced with the completed film, the Duras could not help but find it worthy of her text. The Duras is consequently sympathetic. In black and white (the camera is directed by Henri Alekan, and accordingly the image is magnificent), in a kitchen, then in an empty classroom: a handful of actors and an unruly boy. “Little Ernesto” as he is called, declares that he will no longer go to school, for the good reason that there you learn what you do not know. And how will little Ernesto learn what he doesn’t know (asks the ossified pedagogue threateningly)? Un-avoidably, answers the child, who, after giving his mother an indescribably tender look, slams the door behind him and leaves the adults sitting in their confusion. …”(Serge Daney, Libération April 7, 1983)
Thut alles im Finstern, um Eurem Herrn das Licht zu ersparen
CH, 1971, 45’ by Daniel Schmid
The title of the film refers to a book from 1745 by Jonathan Swift, “Anweisung an das Gesinde”, a time before compulsory education in England, in which the “Gesinde”, the servants, could neither read nor write. The book was thus addressed to the rulers, who could study Swift’s instructions to the servants in leisure hours and thus imagined themselves as a learning and serving subject. In different tableaus, Daniel Schmids shows the relationship between rule and servants and situates them in places with a disciplinary character reminiscent of school, church, mass accommodation. In contrast, the rooms of rulers are places of rest and relaxation. The masters, however, are confronted in each case by the many who undergo the lessons of learning to serve and pursue never-ending cleaning tasks. The film was shot by Daniel Schmid in 1970 near Venice in the Villa Pisani, during the shooting of a film by Peter Lilienthal, for whom he was working as an assistant director. Schmid had been commissioned by Bayrischer Rundfunk to make a portrait of Peter Lilienthal, which he says he “didn’t feel like doing” and instead used part of the crew for four days to “take pictures” at Villa Pisani. The film eventually ended up in BR’s experimental film department.
“They come from a very wealthy family, they had every conceivable opportunity for advancement, access to power, wealth. What made them leave all this behind, renounce everything and enter a servant school?”
“In serving and learning this craft lies for me the only organization of my, under our conditions, necessarily fictitious existence. I have tried everything to bring myself in the social conditions, in solitude, in a process of creative change. I have tested the unity-building revolutionary principles that, led the great collectives into the dream of utopia, but never into their sensually immediate presence. I let myself be deceived and I am deceived. Now I will seduce and deceive. I am learning the ritual of service. I will be obedient and humble. I am forming exclusive character traits and gestures. I go completely into my simple functions and try out on my master the methods of erotic decomposition of power. We flow under the skin of our master, they believe to die, but we only liquidate them. “Quoted from “Do Everything in Darkness to Spare Your Lord the Light”, Daniel Schmid 1971
S, 1999-2001, 14’ by Cecilia Wendtwith Sally Hufvbauer
The video is based on the study of an architecture class at KKH Arkitektskola Malmö in 1982-83, in which three essays on institutional architecture, specifically on school buildings in Malmö, were produced. The construction of school buildings was thereby historically and locally traced and understood as a kind of instruction for architects, in which knowledge of school administration, pedagogical principles and the technical conditions and aesthetic discourses of the time should be translated into architecture. At the same time, it cites a case of literature negotiating how and why schools should be designed and built. The three essays also negotiate the local demands of education itself, such as the spatial structuring and aesthetic form of the former elementary school, for example, as well as today’s elementary and middle school, in which new forms of learning and communication are also constantly negotiated spatially. Cecilia Wendt follows these approaches in her film.
USA, 2003, 81’ by Gus Van SantCinematography: Harris Savides, Sound Design: Leslie Shatz.
Elephant, a high school film that indirectly references the Colombine massacre, moves outside any causal perspective. The teenagers, mostly amateur actors, roam the hallways of a high school, the almost floating camera staying on their heels. Authority is no longer visible. We are sent through the corridors into the schoolyard and into the classrooms, the library and cafeteria, the administration office, the locker rooms. We follow different students throughout the day and experience some moments and encounters from the points of view of different characters. These are the bulimic girlfriends who vomit on command, the boy who desperately tries to protect his alcoholic father, the girl who refuses the regime of heterosexual gender images, a boy who photographs random encounters for his advanced photography course, so do the two killers. Portland students were encouraged to develop their roles from their own lives, to incorporate their own stories and experiences. There was no scripted dialogue; essentially, the students improvised their lines, with Van Sant at times reminding them of a story or something else they had said. “People were involved in the process of creating their characters. Most kids play similar roles to life in the broadest sense,” he says. Exceptions to that rule are Alex Frost and Eric Deulen, cast as the two boys who bring an abrupt end to the day.