Generation Berlin Wall
04. - 08. November 2009
November 4th - 08th, 2009

Tate Modern | Goethe-Institut London | no.w.here gallery

(supported by Goethe-Institut London and
ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V.)

Werkschau MBs-80er | Werkschau MB's-80ies
[ 5 FilmVideo | 57 min | 16mm + 35mm + DVD | 1983 - 1989 ]

WED 4 NOV, 7PM - Goethe-Institut London - Artists’ talk and screening

Since the beginning of the 1980s, experimental filmmaker Michael Brynntrup, one of the most significant figures of the West Berlin Super-8 scene, has produced countless films including two features, which comprise an exhaustive cinematic self-exanimation, conjuring the subject as a fictional amalgam of semiotic slippage, male/male desire and broken historical recount. "Brynntrup's production is haunted throughout by death, a theme whose origins recall the filmer's own, when he shared the womb with a stillborn twin. This early join of life and death continues to impel his relentless pursuit of cinematic invention." (Mike Hoolboom)
At Goethe-Institut, Michael Brynntrup will show and discuss a selection of his early films with curator Florian Wüst. The recently published book "Who says concrete doesn't burn, have you tried? West Berlin Film in the '80s" will serve as a point of reference throughout the evening.

Generation Berlin Wall: Experimental Film from East Germany and West Berlin in the 1980s
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall (9th of November 1989) the series of events Generation Berlin Wall will present, discuss and celebrate the unification of one culture divided in two by the Iron Curtain. This five-days long programme focuses on films by East and West German filmmakers, mostly experimental features and underground film, which have never been shown in the UK. The film programmes, which will be presented at Tate Modern and the Goethe Institut, and no.w.here will be joint with artists’ talks and discussions.
The project is organised by the independent curator Maxa Zoller. The film screenings are curated by the German film curators Claus Löser and Florian Wüst. Generation Berlin Wall is funded by ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V., Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur and Goethe-Institut London.

TODESSTREIFEN - ein deutscher Film
9 Min. | 1983 | Super8 + 35mm | col | sound [MBCFILM#02]
(Dreifachprojektion) | (triple projection)
Between an overgrown West Berlin graveyard and a desolate stretch of land under communist rule, there is a supposedly dead no-man's land. - Around noon, the main character arrives at this inevitable place.
{Information sheet of the film, 1983}

Im Todesstreifen hält sich ein junger Mann im Niemandsland auf. Gleichzeitig sieht man ihn, sitzend an eine Mauer gelehnt, und sein Blick auf die verwilderten Reste seiner Umgebung. Dem Zuschauerblick vereint sich die Perspektive von innen und außen in einem phantastischen Schnittpunkt von gegenläufigen Bewegungen aus schnellen Kamerafahrten und in Momentaufnahmen zerstückelten Bildern einer Person, die sitzt, pißt und stirbt, aber Wann und Wo verschiebt sich ständig.
(die tageszeitung, Berlin, 19.07.83 - Inge Bichler)
HANDFEST - freiwillige Selbstkontrolle
HANDFEST - Voluntary Selfcontrol
18 Min. | 1984 | Super8 | col | sound [MBCFILM#10]
(Manifest) | (manifesto)
The identity is being denied.
On the very first take I wanted to pose naked in front of the camera. But I guess I didn't have the guts. - By the way, I took that shot by self-timer.
{Information sheet of the film, 1984}

Brynntrup here announces the theme that will run throughout his work--the dissolution of the original and individual via replication. In this film, an intertitle "Self-Portrait with Skull" announces a series of images of Brynntrup with mouth and eyes wide open; as each blowup draws us closer into his pupil we see a skull form and then disintegrate before our eyes, as if linking mechanical reproduction to death.
(Alice Kuzniar, "The Problem of Agency in the Digital Era: From the New Media Artist Michael Brynntrup to Run Lola Run", Rutgers German Studies - Papers Series, New Brunswick, NJ, 2003)
MUSTERHAFT - das Ende, ein Intermezzo
EXEMPLARY - The End, An Intermezzo
8 Min. | 1985 | Super8 | col | sound [MBCFILM#12]
(Privatfilm) | (private home film)
My apartment has a nice lay-out.
There are a lot of paintings on the walls. I have a big carpet, too.
{Information sheet of the film, 1985}

We watch him in his apartment, recognize him when, from time to time, he looks in a mirror with a camera. We see how he seems to live, among sheepskin rugs and pictures he painted himself, countless self-portraits on the walls and uncounted death's heads.
(Michael Höfner, translated by Constance Hanna, printed in: Lebende Bilder - still lives, catalogue MoMA, New York - Berlin, April 1992)
VERONIKA (vera ikon)
VERONIKA (vera ikon)
12 Min. | 1986 | Super8 + 16mm | bw | sound [MBCFILM#17]
(Trailerfilm) | (trailer)
The biblical prohibition of images word for word. God's life story in the form of a trailer: from zero B.C. to the Second Coming of Christ - coming soon.
{Information sheet of the film, 1986}

Brynntrup even went so far as to make a special promotional short for »JESUS« called »VERONIKA«. As well as raising theological questions on the Turin Shroud, »VERONIKA« divulges the best way to knock a nail through the hand; how to experience eternal mysteries anew, and that yes, He is coming "to this theatre - soon." - Still no joy with the Catholic church.
(Headpress Manchester, 3/91 - David Kerekes)
DIE BOTSCHAFT - Totentanz 8
THE MASSAGE - Death Dance 8
10 Min. | 1989 | Super8 + 16mm | bw | sound [MBCFILM#26]
"blind spot: term for a currently not reachable or visible space."
{Information sheet of the film, 1989}

Totentanz 8 returns to the figure of a young woman, perhaps the young girl from the very first film grown older. She climbs a V-necked stairwell, lighting on a birdcage stuffed with bird feathers before flinging them into an open courtyard. She appears again in an immense, emptied warehouse space, the image now rephotographed and solarized. She begins to dance through this fantastical silvery sheen, this veil of abandon. She recalls for us that death is also a place for celebration. Her frenzy spent, she rests in a large window opposite the skull, continuing to cast feathers. She takes up the skull and kisses it long and longingly with her tongue. Hers is a final embrace and acceptance, an eroticization of death, a romantic fury. In the end, in the film's sumptuous closing image, she casts feathers out the window in a storm of solarization, the light pouring through its aperture in a silver storm which suggests another world waiting beyond.
(Millenium Film Journal No. 30/31, Fall 1997 - Mike Hoolboom)