Film Restored »Absence«
‘Absence’, the eighth edition of the Film Restored festival, explores gaps in film history and material, as well as absence as a narrative and aesthetic device.
The shadow side of images presented on cinema screens includes lacunae, invisibility and experiences of loss. This becomes especially evident given that around eighty percent of all silent films are considered lost. Fortunately,fragments, film reels and entire works keep being found, resulting in new reconstructions and, with them, in fresh insights into film history. A spectacular find in the Chicago Film Archives in 2020 was Edward Sedgwick’s Universal production ‘The First Degree’ (USA 1923), which can now pick up where its first screen success left off. It was only recently possible to reconstruct Carl Froelich’s early sound film ‘The Night Belongs to Us’ (GER 1929) – a racing driver’s adventure with rapid camera shots, Charlotte Ander behind the wheel and a young Hans Albers as her lover – where missing segments in the soundtrack posed ethical and technical challenges in the restoration process.
But what if only a few film snippets, documents and reviews can provide information about a work that is forever lost? Restorers and curators present creative suggestions for Germaine Dulac’s ‘Âmes de fous’ (F 1918) and the Polish avant-garde film ‘Europa’ (PL 1931).
An absence of social diversity can be found throughout film history, both in front of and behind the camera, in and beyond film plots, in the holdings of film collections and in the placing of emphasis when working with these collections. Remarkable projects from Armenia, Ireland and Spain shine a spotlight on the aesthetically diverse work of women awaiting discovery. The Paraíba Queer Wave’s Super 8 films bring visibility to Brazil’s 1980s LGBTQ+ community. A mobile digitisation workshop offers a response to the question of how to pass on such grassroots productions.
Not least of all, absence and loss are recurring themes in the stories told through film. Lack of familial safety unites such diverse works as the magical-realist film ‘Ishanou’ (IN 1990) from Northeast India and ‘The Boys’ (FI 1962), set in German-occupied Finland in the 1940s. The loss of home is the subject of films such as ‘Far from Home’ (FRG 1975) and ‘Dead Landscape’ (HU 1971), while ‘Spring Sun’ (MA 1969) explores the lack of an emotional home. Raising the curtain on this year’s festival is Rosa von Praunheim’s digitally restored ‘Anita – Dances of Vice’ (FRG 1987), which centres on the unconventional nude dancer of the 1920s, Anita Berber, and which rescues her from oblivion.
The festival programme will be accompanied by lectures and professional events. In tandem, a supporting programme for the presentation of the Prize of the Association of German Cinematheques will take place: films thought to be lost and now rediscovered – and a special recommendation to cinema programmers – will be shown and a panel discussion will be dedicated to the topic of dwindling cinema audiences.
Screenings and events will take place at Kino Arsenal. The Prize ceremony will take place in the event room of the Deutsche Kinemathek.
A selection of festival films, talks, introductions and bonus features will be available online at film-restored.de.
Participation in the festival is free of charge subject to prior accreditation. You can send your accreditation request to email@example.com until 13 October 2023.
The Deutsche Kinemathek receives funding, including special funding for the Prize of the Association of German Cinematheques, from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. The festival is supported by the Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts.