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JIFF to Focus on Alexander Kluge

2008/03/03 Source

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Meeting the Leader of 'New German Cinema'
German film director Alexander Kluge striking a pose for the camera.

The 9th Jeonju International Film Festival will kick off on May 1, 2008 and last until May 9, 2008. Amongst the international films announced include the films of Alexander Kluge who is the leader of 'New German Cinema'. His movies will be in the most popular section 'Stranger than Cinema' during the festival period.

German movies have suffered from their backwardness since the last 20th century, but with Alexander kluge at the head, German film-makers gathered at the 8th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in 1962 and declared a new era for German film creation by saying, "Fathers' movies are dead". Those directors influenced by 'Nouvelle Vague', a new movement in France, were called as 'New German Cinema' and described materialistic value and inhuman element through films.

Alexander kluge's film policy has transformed the structure of the film industry. The genre and content of his films are known as highly intelligent and rational. He has dealt with sensitive issues such as the Nazi period and has consistently maintained an objective and critical view.

There will be 20 films shown in the 'Focus on Alexander Kluge's section. Yesterday Girl was awarded 'Special Jury Prize' in Venice Film Festival. Germany in Autumn was directed by 11 representative German directors such as Werner Fassbinder, Volker Schlondorff, Edgar Reitz and so on. Part-time Work of a Domestic Slave was publicized the issue of abortion in the German society. Artists Under the Big Top was awarded 'Golden Lion' in Venice Film Festival. Pichota Manfredo, the former chief bodyguard of Hitler, appears in the film, I was Hitler's Bodyguard.

The Programmer, Yoo Un-seong who is in charge of 'Focus on Alexander Kluge' said that "Alexander Kluge, once the leader of young directors who dreamt of a new German film, is now conducting a new experiment by enlarging his ground from films to television. The 9th Jeonju International Film Festival will give a precious opportunity for the audience to plunge themselves into the world of Alexander Kluge as a director, an artist, educator, active Marxist and adventurer who experiences new medium".

Jeonju International Film Festival has organized meetings between audiences and experimental directors while holding special programs of Peter Kubelca in 2005, Peter Tscherkassky in 2006, and Harun Farocki and Artavazd Peleshian in 2007. In this year, Ulrich Gregor, the prestigious film critic and a director of a studio will visit Korea on behalf of Alexander Kluge and give lectures about Alexander Kluge and his movies at before most of the showings.

Introduction of 'Focus on Alexander kluge'

"Alexander Kluge is very important figure in German culture. Along with Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alexander Kluge is an intellectual as an artist and an artist as an intellectual and can be the most powerful and creative example for European ideal". - Susan Sontag

German movies had suffered from its backwardness since the end of 20th century, but Alexander kluge at the head, German film-makers gathered at the 8th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in 1962 and declared a new era for German film creation by saying, "Fathers' movies are dead. We believe in the new films". Those directors who are influenced by Nouvelle Vague, a new movement in France, described materialistic value and inhuman element through films, so critics named them "New German Cinema". A lot of people say that without Alexander Kluge's desperate effort, the birth of the 'New German Cinema' would not be possible.

Alexander Kluge was a leader and a theorist who leads the young movies in German and spoke out about not only the movie policy but also the necessity of structure change in the film industry. He, himself, revolutionized highly intelligent and analytical genre and style of movies. His work was regarded as one of the role models for contemporary German intellectuals and artists, because he had critical perspective on Nazi period and German society after the war. He wrote two long-novels and a choice of short novels, and won several prominent literary awards including 'Georg Buchner prize'. In addition to that, he was the scholar who followed the ideology steps of Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. Especially,

『The Public Sphere and Experience』 (1972), written by both him and his co-worker, Oscar Necht, was considered as an ideology scripture for German left–wings in 1970s and widely read. Since the middle of 1980s, Alexander Kluge almost stopped shooting films, focused on the vast possibility of the television and started to make alternative and counteractive television programs.

The films that will screen in the special session are total 20 including, Yesterday Girl (1966, Venice Film Festival, 'Special Jury Prize') disclosing the reality of divided Germany at the time, Artists Under the Big Top (1968, Venice Film Festival, 'Golden Lion'), the allegory asking the social status of artists, and early short films and alternative television shows. All those films are enough to show his unique style of work. Especially, Germany in Autumn (1978), created by 11 famous German directors such as Werner Fassbinder, Volker Schlondorff, Edgar Reitz and so on, will be shown for the first time in Korea. The 9th Jeonju International Film Festival plans to publish booklet containing reviews, unique theory of the directors and long interview written by Alexander Kluge's specialists to help understanding of the audiences. The booklet will be distributed to the audience who participate special lecture during the festival period.

Film introduction and lecture program by specialist
(Lecturer: Ulrich Gregor)

Ulrich Gregor: Born in Hamburg, Germany in 1932. He has contributed film reviews to journals and newspapers at home and abroad since 1957. 『Geschichte des Films』, written with Enno Patalas in 1962, is considered as one of the most influential literary works dealing with history of movies. The work bears comparison with writings of Georges Sadoul and Jean Mitry. Ulrich Gregor established German Cinema-tech Intimate Club (Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek) in 1963 and Arsenal, the art movies theater, in Berlin in 1970. He has operated the 'Arsenal' until now. While he was working as the director of 'Young Cinema International Forum' in Berlin International Film Festival from 1971 to 2000, he devoted himself to find out alternative and the third movies around the world. Thanks to his contribution to the development of the German Films, Ulrich Gregor won 'Helmut Kutner prize' in 1988.

The special program, 'Stranger than cinema' of Jeonju International Film Festival, has offered chances for audience to see experimental and alternative films which are hard to encounter in daily lives, and to take lectures about their world of movies by inviting those famous directors. Thanks to this precious opportunity, 'Stranger than cinema' becomes a sellout and one of the popular programs in Jeonju International Film Festival. Great Masters in experimental movies in Austria, Peter Kubelca (2005) and Peter Tscherkassky (2006), and Harun Farocki from Germany and Artavazd Peleshian from Armenia (2007) had been in Jeonju International Film Festival to meet with the audiences. In this year, Ulrich Gregor, the prestigious film critic and the director of a studio will visit Korea on behalf of Alexander Kluge who is unable to come to Korea due to the tight schedule. Ulrich Gregor will give lectures about Alexander Kluge and his movies at the most of the times before showings.

Films of 'Focus on Alexander Kluge' Introduction

Feature Films

Yesterday Girl
Germany | 1966 | 84min

Having escaped from East Germany to West Germany, Anita G. tries to settle down in the West, but it is hard for her to find her position in the cruel society. As produced right after the Oberhausen declaration which proclaimed to stop old era films and to demand new cinema, this film shows experimental styles including jump cuts, fast sequences, and inserted subtitles. The film's articulated and omitted plot also presents the new stream of youth films in the 1960's. It is Alexander Kluge's first feature film adapted with his own original novel, and his younger sister, Alexandra Kluge played Anita G.

- 1966 Venice Film Festival, 'Special Jury Prize'

Artists Under the Big Top
Germany | 1968 | 100min

Although Leni Peickert, a circus master, wants to make a special circus with a political position, her action fails due to both a financial problem and lack of understanding of the audiences and the crews. This film is an allegory to reflect a hardship of the creator Alexander Kluge and an agony for unstable social positions as an artist. On the one hand, it is one of Alexander Kluge's most difficult films as well. It is also impressive that the film ironically uses a song, "Yesterday" by the Beatles, with the Italian version, achieving eminence in using experimental montage and sound editing.

- 1968 Venice Film Festival, 'golden Lion'

Part-time Work of a Domestic Slave
Germany | 1973 | 89min

It is one of the most Brecht styled films by Alexander Kluge, presenting a course that a 29 year old mother, wife and irregular laborer Roswitha Bronski undergoes all the social absurdity and changes herself becoming a radical activist. Roswitha with three children provides illegal abortion operations to make a living. Shockingly showing the social repression on women's bodies, its bald descriptions of the abortion sequences make controversy in the contemporary German society.

Germany in Autumn
Germany | 1978 | 123min

Motivated by a series of political events after the kidnap of Hanns Martin Schleyer, the chairman of the German Businessman Association in the fall, 1977, eleven German directors co-produced the film. It is an acclaimed work with high evaluation in that the directors, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Volker Schlondorff, Edgar Reitz and other contemporary important directors in German filmdom as well as Alexander Kluge joined the production to show a possibility of political solidarity among the directors in 'New German Cinema'. Gabi Teichert, a heroine of The Female Patriot, a feature film by Alexander Kluge released in next year appears in this film for the first time.

The Female Patriot
Germany | 1979 | 118min

A history teacher, Gabi Teichert who appeared in Germany in Autumn becomes the protagonist again in this film. The film has a peculiar plot with a main narrative and sub-narratives that repetitively blocks the procedures of the main, which would not be unified as one narrative. It also shows Alexander Kluge's experimental attempts such as parallel editing of black and white and of past and present, sudden sound-outs and insertion of animation sequences. It is also known as a woman director, Margarethe von Trotta, directed a part of the film.

The Power of Emotion
Germany | 1983 | 115min

Alexander Kluge says that this film is never a film on emotions but rather a film on the process to form them. In this film, he tries to analyze the way of systematize emotions by coincidence, exterior elements, murders and destiny. It is recognized that in the opening sequence over 13 minutes, the film shows all the techniques, materials and styles which every film by Alexander Kluge after the 1970's dealt with.

- 1983 Venice Film Festival, 'FIPRESCI' prize

The Blind Director
Germany | 1985 | 113min

The film is an omnibus film with a story of a lonely single woman who adopts an orphan girl but returns her to her rich relatives, and a story of a director who endeavors to complete his own film even if he is losing his sight, whose plot is elliptical. As a film which provides the philosophical speculation of Alexander Kluge on the nature of time, it is one of his prominent films before he dedicated himself to produce alternative television programs.

Short Films

Brutality in Stone
Germany | 1960 | 12min

Brutality in Stone is the first short film by Alexander Kluge, co-produced with Peter Schamoni.

Germany | 1961 | 9min

This short film compares a car racing to the competitive life in the capitalist society which makes people run faster than others and divides winners and losers. The enthusiasm for racing with roaring sounds of cars is suddenly ridiculed by the narration on a slow drum sound as if a ritual is being held. Both provide contemplation on life. The camera work caught with detailed long procedure of car racing and the cinematography with dichotomous compositions to reverse a situation.

Teachers in Transformation
Germany | 1963 | 11min

The film suggests an educational issue under the Nazis authority. A government official from Prussia and college professor, Reichwein was forced to stop teaching students after the Nazis centralized the power. Despite being a passionate teacher, Lull was so frustrated that he quit teaching after sending his students to the battlefield. Margit was divested of his teaching position without any just reason when she drove forward radical educational reform. These three stories are laid out in a parallel line.

Policeman's Lot
Germany | 1964 | 13min

This film is a short to picture a time change in Germany through a life of a retired policeman. You could have a bitter smile and reflect on the time in the personal history which is duplicated on the grand history. As if a buoyant mass game seems to show mechanical movement; insipid narrations on stills, sudden subtitles inserted like shouting slogans, repetitive sequences in keeping time and rhythmical editing.

E. A. Winterstein, Extinguisher
Germany | 1968 | 10min

The time of 1967 and 1968 in Germany was when the government and the young intellectuals confronted each other besides the movements against the government including anti-Vietnam War campaigns and college reform movements. The word fireman also means to extinguish the political and historical flames at that time.


An Experiment in Love
Germany | August 9, 1998 on RTL | 13min

There are a man, a woman and a closed space. Could love happen with these three conditions? The film is a fiction based on the result of a medical experiment which was actually conducted in a concentration camp. A male prisoner and a female prisoner were locked in a room, and they are watched if their relationship develops for love. The film was adapted with a short novel in『Case Histories』, written by the director. When it was published, it was criticized as being radical.

I was Hitler's Bodyguard
Germany | January 18, 1999 on SAT1 | 45min

Hitler's death leaves numerous questions and suppositions. There are also many events around him. Hitler's chief bodyguard, Pichota Manfredo who had been watching all the courses of events interviewed for this film. Would his testimony be true indeed?

Serpentine Gallery Program
Germany | 1995-2005 | 100min

'Serpentine Galley', the most favorite gallery in England, has exhibited modern and contemporary works. You could see sequence transitions as if the collection of shorts by Alexander Kluge were to flip a collection book with TV programs which was introduced by Serpentine Gallery. Peculiar frame compositions, experimental images, and daring reinterpretation on his own films as well as previous films show the aesthetic strength of a director, Alexander Kluge.

The program consists of 5 short moving pictures and the advertisement collections aired on SVT as followings.

1) Minute Films | Advertisement collections televised on SVT (1998)

2) Cold Death Interrupts Love | Televised on RTL (May 29, 1995)

3) He Who Hopes, Dies Singing | Televised on RTL (March 14, 1999)

4) The Flexible Entrepreneur | Televised on RTL (February 18, 2001)

5) A Woman Like a Volcano | Televised on RTL (October 6, 2003)

6) The Officer as a Philosopher | Televised on RTL (January 24, 2005)

* How to use Press Site: JIFF Website (, click 'Press', Log in (ID: press, PW: jiff2008)

Jeonju International Film Festival
Publicity Team Manager
Jinhwa Yun
Tel +82_2_2285_0562, Fax +82_2_2285_0560
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