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Screenings in Memory of Filmmaker Harun Farocki at The Goethe-Institut Los Angeles

Harun Farocki – the director whose perspicacious cinematic essays analyzed the new media world – died in July 2014. With his radical way of looking at things Farocki strove to endow images with their own form of self-will, to expose their political and cultural coding. The Goethe-Institut Los Angeles and Los Angeles Filmforum join to present a free eight-screening series of some of Farocki’s masterworks, running on Wednesday nights from January 14 to March 4.

Farocki lived and worked in Berlin as a filmmaker, artist and writer. His essay and observational films question the production and perception of images, decoding film as a medium and examining how audiovisual culture is related to history, politics, technology and war. His projects have been shown in festivals and solo, group and retrospective exhibitions worldwide at important events and international institutions, including the 2010 São Paulo Biennial, Documenta X and Xxii in Kassel, Tate Modern in London, MacBa in Barcelona, Museum Ludwig in Cologne and the Jeu de Paume in Paris.

Screenings In memory of filmmaker Harun Farocki

Wednesday nights from January 14 to March 4 at 7:00 pm

Where: At the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, 5750 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Tickets: Free admission, but RSVP needed, by email to

rsvp@losangeles.goethe.org or by phone at 323.525.3388

Parking: $1 validated parking (for events only) on weekdays after 6:00 pm and all day on weekends in the Wilshire Courtyard West underground garage-P1.

For more event information visit Here

Screening on Wednesday, January 14th 2015, 7:00 pm

Leben: Brd (How to Live in the Frg)

1990, 88 min. color, German with English subtitles. Digital .

The author assembles a genre picture of the contemporary Frg with shots of scenes where life is rehearsed, ability/durability is tested. Wherever one looks, people appear as actors playing themselves; they take on roles. A play in the theater of life made up of training courses, fitness tests for things and people. Be it in birth preparation classes for expectant parents or in practice runs for sales talks, on the military training ground or during role-plays for educational purposes. Everywhere the incessant effort to be prepared for the emergency of "reality" can be felt.

"How To Live In The Frg" assembles out of a wealth of details a picture of a society in which childbearing and dying, crying and taking care of people, crossing streets and killing are taught and learned in state or private institutions, indeed have to be learned. The real mechanical ballet is not danced by machines but by people, who move to a music that feeds on bombastic phrases from the realms of social work, bureaucracy and therapy. All together, the collected scenes appear to support the view that a mentality of insurance and providing for the future prevails in the Frg, a country in which happiness as well as misery are supposed to be disciplined by means of social techniques and freed from any measure of unpredictability. And yet

"How To Live In The Frg" goes beyond such an interpretation. The participants in the games, tests, and therapy sessions are not degraded into pieces of evidence for some theory or other. They retain, to varying degrees, something of their dignity. This is a result of Farocki's working method: he has edited the scenes in such a way that even the most nonsensical occurrences as it were explain themselves.

Wednesday, January 21st 2015, 7:00 pm

Erkennen und Verfolgen (War at a Distance)

2003, 58 min. color and b/w. German with English subtitles, Digital.

In 1991, when images of the Gulf War flooded the international media, it was virtually impossible to distinguish between real pictures and those generated on computer. This loss of bearings was to change forever our way of deciphering what we see. The image is no longer used only as testimony, but also as an indispensable link in a process of production and destruction. This is the central premise of "War at a Distance", which continues the deconstruction of claims to visual objectivity Harun Farocki developed in his earlier work. With the help of archival and original material, Farocki sets out in effect to define the relationship between military strategy and industrial production and sheds light on how the technology of war finds applications in everyday life. (Antje Ehmann)

Nicht löschbares Feuer (Inextinguishable Fire)

1969, 25 min., B/W, German with English subtitles, Digital.

"When we show you pictures of napalm victims, you'll shut your eyes. You'll close your eyes to the pictures. Then you'll close them to the memory. And then you'll close your eyes to the facts." These words are spoken at the beginning of an agitprop film that can be viewed as a unique and remarkable development. Farocki refrains from making any sort of emotional appeal.

His point of departure is the following: "When napalm is burning, it is too late to extinguish it. You have to fight napalm where it is produced: in the factories." Resolutely, Farocki names names: the manufacturer is Dow Chemical, based in Midland, Michigan in the United States. Against backdrops suggesting the laboratories and offices of this corporation, the film then proceeds to educate us with an austerity reminiscent of Jean Marie Straub. Farocki's development unfolds: "(1) A major corporation is like a construction set. It can be used to put together the whole world. (2) Because of the growing division of labor, many people no longer recognize the role they play in producing mass destruction. (3) That which is manufactured in the end is the product of the workers, students, and engineers."

This last thesis is illustrated with an alarmingly clear image. The same actor, each time at a washroom sink, introduces himself as a worker, a student, an engineer. As an engineer, carrying a vacuum cleaner in one hand and a machine gun in the other, he says, "I am an engineer and I work for an electrical corporation. The workers think we produce vacuum cleaners. The students think we make machine guns. This vacuum cleaner can be a valuable weapon. This machine gun can be a useful household appliance. What we produce is the product of the workers, students, and engineers." (Hans Stempel, Frankfurter Rundschau, June 14, 1969)

Wednesday, January 28th 2015, 7:00 pm

Videogramme einer Revolution (Videograms of a Revolution)

Dir. Harun Farocki & Andrei Ujica, 1992, 106 min. color and b/w.Romanian, English and German with English subtitles, Digital.

Wednesday, February 4th 2015, 7:00 pm

Stilleben (Still Life)

1997, 58 min., color and b/w, German with English subtitles. Digital.

Ein Bild (An Image)

1983, 25 min., color, German with English subtitles, Digital.

Wednesday, February 11th 2015, 7:00 pm

Wie man sieht (As You See)

1986, 72 min., color and b/w, German with English subtitles. Digital.

Wednesday, February 18th 2015, 7:00 pm

Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges (Images of the world and the Inscription War)

1988, 75 min., color and b/w, German with English subtitles. Digital.

Wednesday, February 25th 2015, 7:00 pm

Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik & Gefängnisbilder (Workers Leaving The Factory)

1995, 36 min., color and b/w, German with English subtitles. Digital.

Gefängnisbilder (Prison Images)

2000, 60 min., color and b/w, German with English subtitles. Digital.

Wednesday, March 4th 2015, 7:00 pm

Schnittstelle (Section/Interface)

1995, 23 min., color and b/w, German with English subtitles. Digital.

Zum Vergleich (In Comparison)

2009, 61 min., color, no dialogue with English intertitles. Digital.
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