Walter Ruttmann - News Poster


From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses

Take a trip into the depths of German silent film in a documentary that links expressionist cinema with dark political undercurrents. Director Rüdiger Suchsland’s essay adapts a famous & worthy but slightly outdated book, yet is an excellent overview of movies in the Weimar period.

From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses


Kino Lorber

2014 / Color & B&W / 1:78 widescreen / 118 min. / Von Caligari zu Hitler: Das deutsche Kino im Zeitalter der Massen / Street Date January 9, 2018 / available through Kino Lorber Video Store / 29.95

Starring: Rüdiger Suchsland (voice), Hans Henrik Wöhler (voice), Fritz Lang (voice), Volker Schlöndorff, Fatih Akin, Thomas Elsaesser, Eric D. Weitz, Elisabeth Bronfen.

Cinematography: Frank Reimann, Harald Schmuck

Film Editor: Katja Dringenberg

Original Music: Henrik Albrecht, Michael Hartmann

Written by Rüdiger Suchsland, from the book by Siegfried Kracauer

Produced by Martina Haubrich

Directed by Rüdiger Suchsland

I’ve always sought out good documentaries about films
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Boundaries Overcome: An Interview with Manuela De Laborde

  • MUBI
Manuela De Laborde's short film As Without So Within, which has played at the Toronto International Film Festival, won the Grand Prix at Zagreb's 25 Fps Festival, competed for the Tiger at Rotterdam, and will next screen at New Directors/New Films, is an utterly remarkably, vividly calm work that blends sculpture and filmmaking into a cosmic exploration of physical material transformed by the flatness of the cinema screen. Using ingenious objects made by De Laborde that variously resemble moon rocks, bones, and additional unidentifiable shapes, and by filming them against black backgrounds, awash in precise colored lighting and at different scales, these strange pieces loom or are dwarfed, come into or go out of focus and perceptibility. Sometimes the film feels like a kind of astronomic research report, tactile and scientific in its observation, even seemingly scanning or plunging deep the molecular makeup of these evocatively recognizable, yet alien shapes.
See full article at MUBI »

Roland Emmerich's (More Creative) Predecessor: Lang Was Early Cinema's Foremost Master of Spectacles

'Die Nibelungen: Siegfried': Paul Richter as the dragon-slaying hero of medieval Germanic mythology. 'Die Nibelungen': Enthralling silent classic despite complex plot and countless characters Based on the medieval epic poem Nibelungenlied, itself inspired by the early medieval Germanic saga about the Burgundian royal family, Fritz Lang's two-part Die Nibelungen is one of those movies I can enjoy many times without ever really understanding who's who and what's what. After all, the semi-historical, fantasy/adventure epic is packed with intrigue, treachery, deceit, hatred, murder, and sex. And that's just the basic plotline. As seen in Kino's definitive two-disc edition, artistically and cinematically speaking Die Nibelungen contains some of the greatest visual compositions I've ever seen. Filmed mostly in long shots that frame the imaginative sets and high ceilings, each static shot is meticulously composed with such symmetry and balance that, even though Die Nibelungen takes the viewer through a mythical fantasia,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Notebook's 8th Writers Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2015

  • MUBI
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2015?Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2015—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2015 to create a unique double feature.All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2015 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch
See full article at MUBI »

New on Video: ‘Triumph of the Will’

Triumph of the Will

Written by Leni Riefenstahl, Walter Ruttmann, Eberhard Taubert

Directed by Leni Riefenstahl

Germany, 1935

It is never easy to look at Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will as anything other than what Dr. Anthony Santoro quite rightly calls a “supreme propaganda film.” As that, it is nearly unparalleled in the dubious annals of film history. Contributing to its difficulty in terms of analysis, however, is the fact that it is, at the same time, more than simply a notorious document of evil in bloom. For all the troublesome features that recurrently arise through the course of this film—the domineering presence of Adolf Hitler being just one obvious example—this is one remarkably well-crafted motion picture. Its status as the ultimate work of cinematic propaganda is, indeed, a direct result of just how superbly powerful, sadly persuasive, and expertly realized the documentary is, for better or worse.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

'My Winnipeg' (Criterion Collection) Blu-ray Review

Before receiving Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Guy Maddin's 2007 feature My Winnipeg I hadn't seen any of Maddin's films, and about 30 minutes into this one I felt I'd made the right choice. However, as the short, 80-minute, "something like a documentary" played out, I found myself increasingly intrigued. The Lynchian vibe matched with visuals appearing as if it had been made in the mid-'20s, slowly drew me in. I was fascinated by the preposterous (but true) story of Winnipeg's "If Day", the idea of a "Ledge Man" television show and then those frozen horse heads... I'll get to those in just a second. Described as a "docu-fantasia" by the folks at Criterion, Maddin sets out to tell the story of his hometown of Winnipeg, but in his own unique fashion. Using stories of his childhood to the point he even hires actors (including iconic femme fatale Ann Savage
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

A Talk by Caroline Champetier

  • MUBI
This is a talk given by French director of photography Caroline Champetier at the La Roche-sur-Yon International Film Festival in October 2012, originally published in two parts on the festival’s site ( This translation is being published with their kind permission. This year's festival will take place from October 16-21, Kelly Reichardt will be the guest of honor. Many thanks to Emmanuel Burdeau, programmer of the festival, Jordan Mintzer and Caroline Champetier.

Caroline Champetier: I’ve always tried to take a step back from what I’m doing. The more I work, however, the less I’m able to deal with this exercise. I just finished production on Claude Lanzmann’s The Last of the Unjust and have barely said goodbye to David Teboul, a young director who I worked with on Cinq avenue Marceau (2002), a film I think very highly of and that’s about Yves Saint Laurent’s last collection.
See full article at MUBI »

Movie Poster of the Week: “Metropolis” and the posters of Boris Bilinsky

  • MUBI
When I first saw this artwork for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis used on the Masters of Cinema 2010 Blu-ray packaging, I was convinced that it was contemporary artwork commissioned especially for that release. As familiar as I was with Heinz Schulz-Neudamm’s famous poster for the film (aka the most sought after and most expensive movie poster of all time), for some reason I had not seen this before. But when I discovered that this poster was not only an original 1927 French release poster but also that it is a four-sheet poster that stands 94 inches tall and 126 inches wide, my mind was blown. (Click on the image to see it in all its glory). Apparently an original exists in the Art Library of the Berlin State Museum (the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) but I would assume no copy has ever come up for auction. As far as I’m concerned this
See full article at MUBI »

Oskar Fischinger: the animation wizard who angered Walt Disney and the Nazis

This pioneer of experimental animation grew up in a brewery, was branded a degenerate by the Nazis, did animations for Disney and influenced John Cage. Prepare to be mesmerised

Here come the circles, radiating from a single point to fill the screen. They keep on coming. Are they approaching or vanishing? Am I looking up at a dome of light or down into a black hole? Patterns collapse inward, and circles of light turn and turn. Everything spirals and surges with an abstract radiation.

"It's just like Bridget Riley!" someone in the dark gallery at the Eye film Museum in Amsterdam says – but even as she speaks the image has moved on. Spirals, a series of patched-together experiments in abstract animation by Oskar Fischinger, was made in his studio in Munich in the mid-1920s, and comes near the start of a major exhibition of the animator's work.

The Eye
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ultra-Modern: Jean Epstein, or Cinema “Serving the Forces of Transgression and Revolt”

On the occasion of Anthology Film Archive's retrospective on Jean Epstein and the publishing of a new anthology on the filmmaker edited by Sarah Keller and Jason N. Paul, Jean Epstein: Critical Essays and New Translations, we are here reprinting the essay by Nicole Brenez, "Ultra-Modern: Jean Epstein, or Cinema 'Serving the Forces of Transgression and Revolt.'" The anthology is published by Amsterdam University Press and available in the Us and Canada from the University of Chicago Press. Many thanks to Amsterdam University Press, University of Chicago Press, Magdalena Hernas, Sarah Keller and Nicole Brenez.

Jean Epstein disappeared over half a century ago, in 1953. Yet, few filmmakers are still as alive today. At the time, a radio broadcast announced the following obituary: “Jean Epstein has just died. This name may not mean much to many of those who turn to the screens to provide them with the weekly dose of emotion they need.
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10 of the best films set in Berlin

Berlin has been the backdrop – and even the star – in movies from cold war spy thrillers to dramas about the collapse of East Germany. Andrew Pulver picks the top 10 films set in the city

• As featured in our Berlin city guide

People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag), Curt and Robert Siodmak, 1930

Silent cinema flourished in Germany during the Weimar years, and Berlin was immortalised in two particularly brilliant impressionist tributes: Walter Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, and People on Sunday, which aimed to create a patchwork of ordinary Berliners' lives. This film, with its cast of non-professional actors and hidden camera, gets the pick – partly because of its extraordinary writing and directing credit roll. Virtually everyone – including Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann and Robert Siodmak – went on to make a name for themselves in Hollywood, after being forced out of Germany during the Nazi era.

• Bahnhof Zoo; Nikolassee

The Bourne Supremacy,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Robert Breer, 1926 - 2011

  • MUBI
Experimental animator Robert Breer, once referred to by the Harvard Film Archive as the "Kinetic Poet of the Avant-Garde," passed away on Friday. Pip Chodorov broke the news via the Frameworks list, calling him "a good friend, a very funny man, and a great artist."

Breer's father, an automobile designer, rigged a Bolex so that he could shoot home movies in 3D. In the early 50s, Breer lived in Paris, where he made large abstract paintings, and in the 60s, he made "float" sculptures that wander the gallery. An exhibition of several of these paintings and sculptures is currently on view at Baltic's Level 4 Gallery in Gateshead through September 25.

Yoel Meranda, who, a few years ago, worked at the Film-makers' Cooperative in New York, which Breer co-founded in the 70s, has a moving remembrance. Here's how it begins: "When I first saw on Fred Camper's Senses of Cinema top tens
See full article at MUBI »

Raffaello Matarazzo, "People on Sunday" and More DVDs

"It's easy to enjoy Raffaello Matarazzo's melodramas for the campy excess of their acting and story lines," blogs Dave Kehr, "but it's more productive to take them seriously, I think — to see how cleanly and elegantly Matarazzo presents this bezerko material, with a visual style that reminded Jacques Lourcelles of Lang, Dreyer and Mizoguchi, and how perfectly engineered his narratives are, with every outlandish episode incorporated into a serene, symmetrical structure. The new Matarazzo box set (my New York Times review is here) from Criterion's budget Eclipse line contains four of Matarazzo's seven films with the towering star couple Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson (literally — Matarazzo's mise-en-scene somehow makes them seem larger, both physically and emotionally, than any of the other characters on the screen), all subtitled in English for the first time: Chains (1949) [image above], Tormento (1950), Nobody's Children (1952) and The White Angel (1955)."

"Though immensely popular, the films were dismissed by
See full article at MUBI »

Center For Visual Music: Fischinger Preservation Benefit

September 23

7:00 p.m.


5750 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Hosted by: Center for Visual Music

The Center for Visual Music — the Los Angeles-based archive dedicated to the preservation and promotion of both classic and modern avant-garde and experimental media — is holding a special benefit to raise money for their Fischinger Preservation and Conservation Project. Tickets can be purchased directly from Event Brite. (To be clear: This event is Not a screening, so don’t go expecting to see a screening of Fischinger’s films. This is simply a benefit.)

The event is being held on the occasion of the 100th birthday of Elfriede Fischinger (1910 — 1999), the widow of experimental animation pioneer Oskar Fischinger (1900 — 1967). There will be paintings and unshot animation drawings by Oskar, but half of the exhibition will be about the life and work of Elfriede. Also, there will be a wine reception and a silent auction.

Oskar Fischinger
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Anthology Film Archives’ Essential Cinema Repertory Collection

First the history, then the list:

In 1969, Jerome Hill, P. Adams Sitney, Peter Kubelka, Stan Brakhage, and Jonas Mekas decided to open the world’s first museum devoted to film. Of course, a typical museum hangs its collections of artwork on the wall for visitors to walk up to and study. However, a film museum needs special considerations on how — and what, of course — to present its collection to the public.

Thus, for this film museum, first a film selection committee was formed that included James Broughton, Ken Kelman, Peter Kubelka, Jonas Mekas and P. Adams Sitney, plus, for a time, Stan Brakhage. This committee met over the course of several months to decide exactly what films would be collected and how they would be shown. The final selection of films would come to be called the The Essential Cinema Repertory.

The Essential Cinema Collection that the committee came up with consisted of about 330 films.
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Berlin: Symphony Of A City at Filmforum

The Los Angeles Filmforum will be hosting the Munich Film Museum’s Stefan Droessler on Friday March 12, 8:00 pm at the The Echo Park Film Center. As per the Filmforum press release, the Museum "has an ongoing program of restoration of film works and issuing exemplary DVD editions through the Edition Filmmuseum label." At Filmforum, Droessler will "present the issues and process involved in their restoration of the pioneering film work of Walther Ruttmann, followed by a presentation of the classic poetic documentary masterwork Berlin: Symphony of a City [1927]. The presentation will include photos, scans of paintings, and Ruttmann’s short films Opus I-IV, and will last about 60-80 minutes, followed by intermission [...]
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

See also

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