May 1, 2012
Young Olympians: New Greek Cinema at the Arsenal

The success of Yorgos Lanthimos’ exceptional Kynodontas (Dogtooth, pictured above), which won the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2009, went on to be a worldwide indie hit and even garnered an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film, signalled the start of a new wave of films from young Greek filmmakers that count as some of the most refreshingly original works to come out of the European arthouse in recent years.

Always markedly postmodern, these films focus on the transformation and dissolution of mores and institutions within contemporary Greek society, often creating offbeat microcosms to explore the individual’s relation to these shifts and providing commentaries that infuse cynicism with whimsicality without sacrificing their bite.

Starting with a preview screening of Lanthimos’ latest film Alpeis (Alps, released in Germany on the 14th of June), which tells of an agency providing surrogate loved ones to the recently bereaved, throughout May the Arsenal is hosting an impressive series of 13 recent Greek films, most of which are all but impossible to get a hold of in Germany. Kynodontas producer Athina Tsangarai will be present for the German premiere of her own Attenberg, another cult favourite. Other highlights include L (pictured above), which takes the deadpan absurdism of the above titles to a whole new level in its story of a man who lives in his car and whose raison d’être consists of each day delivering a single jar of honey to his employer.

Neues Griechisches Kino (04.05 - 30.05.2012) | Arsenal, Potsdamer Str. 2, S+U-Bhf Potsdamer Platz

Alpeis - May 4, 20:00, and May 7, 20:00. In Greek with English subs, with director Yorgos Lanthimos in attendance

Kynodontas - May 5, 19:00, and May 19, 21:00. In Greek with English subs, with director Yorgos Lanthimos in attendance

Attenberg - May 10, 20:00. In Greek with German subs, with director Athina Tsangarai in attendance

L - May 12, 21:00, and May 18, 19:30. In Greek with English subs

Full programme here.

Originally published in the May 2012 issue of Exberliner

December 28, 2011
Hell Are the Others: Chamber Films at the Arsenal

What is called a chamber play in theatre doesn’t, as far as I know, have an established definition in cinema. So let’s be crazy creative and call it a chamber film. Capitalizing on our thirst for carnage (Carnage also being the name of a recent, brilliant example of the genre), such films confine a small number of characters to a single setting and let them loose on one another, exposing the most upstanding individual for what he truly is: a wild beast hiding behind a brittle façade of civility. Though chamber films go all the way back to the 20s and include some of cinema’s most celebrated directors — Buñuel, Dreyer, Hitchcock, Huston… — amongst their authors, it’s rare to find them bundled together as a genre.

Doing just that, the Arsenal is offering the chance of seeing twelve outstanding specimens throughout January, spanning over 80 years of cinema and featuring all of the aforementioned directors and more.

My tip: make sure to check out Buñuel’s 1962 El ángel exterminador (The Exterminating Angel, Jan 3 and 5, 19:00, pictured above), in which the great Spanish surrealist indulges in his favourite activity: tearing the bourgeoisie apart. Lavishly attired guests attend a fancy dinner party but are unable to leave again; puzzlement gives way to frustration, which gives way to exasperation until finally turning into aggression and culminating in a full-blown riot. Lots of fun. 

Full programme here.

Magical History Tour - Der Kammerspielfilm (01.01 - 27.01.2012) | Arsenal, Potsdamer Str. 2, S+U-Bhf Potsdamer Platz

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