A Filmseries by Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki.
Contemporary cinema in France takes a particular look at issues concerning migration. So extensively, in fact, that a new genre has developed called “cinema beur”—films by North African filmmakers who have grown up in France and address the problems of Maghrebi immigrants. In many of these films, as in many other films by young French filmmakers, France is portrayed well as being both a country of cinema and of immigration. However, other than very successful films, such as “La Haine,” few of these are shown in Germany. Yet our aim was not to track down and screen rare or obscure films, but to show good, interesting, key works of this socially relevant style of film-making—regardless of whether they are new or rediscovered—as a basis for discussion. (Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann)
Opening Lecture: Harun Farocki
Following the lecture:
DEUX OU TROIS CHOSES QUE JE SAIS D’ELLE / TWO OR THREE THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER (Jean-Luc Godard)
F 1966, in French, with German subtitles, 35mm, 90 Min.
The “Her” in the title refers both to the Paris suburb and the protagonist, who tries to live there as both housewife and prostitute. This film from the 1960s is France’s first banlieue film, created before the word for it was developed.
LE THÉ AU HAREM D’ARCHIMÈDE / TEA IN ARCHIMEDE’S HAREM (Mehdi Charef)
F 1986, in German, 16mm, 110 Min.
This pilot cinema beur film about the friendship between the Maghrebi Majid and the Gallic Frenchman, Patrick, abounds with cinematic brilliance and remains powerful and contemporary to this day.
LA HAINE / HATE (Mathieu Kassovitz)
F 1995, in French, with English subtitles, 35mm, 98 Min.
Over half a million viewers saw “La Haine” within weeks of its release. The film received the “Best Director Award” at the Cannes Film Festival and has become the most reviewed film in recent history. The banlieue, or Parisian “suburbs,” are the subject of the film and likewise a synonym for France’s worst problems: unemployment, social isolation, racism, suburbanism, crime, and violence.
LA PROMESSE / THE PROMISE (Luc et Jean-Pierre Dardenne)
B / F 1996, in French, with German subtitles, 35mm, 93 Min.
The Dardenne brothers—masters of Verist cinema—tell the story of the moral awakening of a 15-year-old boy who no longer wants to take part in his father’s unscrupulous practices. With documentary-style precision, the film conveys how illegal immigrants are exploited.
NENETTE ET BONI / NENETTE AND BONI (Claire Denis)
F 1996, in French, with German subtitles, 35mm, 103 Min.
Denis’s film, which received a “Golden Lion Award” at the Locarno Film Festival, justifiably received rave reviews. The film tells the tale of two siblings, Nenette and Boni, while also portraying the real life of the working class in Marseille. Migration issues likewise weave their way through this “reality” in a humorous way.
LA VIE DE JÉSUS / LIFE OF JESUS (Bruno Dumont)
F 1997, in French, with German subtitles, 35mm, 96 Min.
This film is about the life of a group of young people, who pass the time “out in the sticks” by driving around on their mopeds and fixing up old cars. Their future looks dim. Breathtaking to the last second, Dumont’s film manages to find mystery in the smallest, most banal details of everyday life. A début film that has enabled French cinema to soar to stunning heights.
SAMIA (Philippe Faucon)
F 2000, in French, with English subtitles, 35mm,73 Min.
In “Samia,“ Faucon tells the story of an Algerian immigrant and her three sisters who want to be normal, young, French people and what prevents them from achieving that. The story seems familiar, yet we have seldom, perhaps never, seen this kind of tale told in such a visually and narratively impressive way.
TERRA INCOGNITA (Ghassan Salhab)
F / Libanon 2002, in French, with English subtitles, 35mm, 120 Min.
“Terra Incognita,” screened last year at the Cannes Film Festival, is an amazing film about the lives of several people in their mid-30s in Beirut—a city in the throes of being rebuilt following a seven-year civil war. All of the film’s protagonists are naturally confronted with the topic of migration, and trying to coming to terms with the question: should we stay here and live, or leave?