April 16, May 14, May 28, 6.30 pm
Film program

Join in.


compiled by Madeleine Bernstorff

Mach’s mit (Join in): with this explicitly cheerful challenge I would like to put up for discussion our voluntary participation in processes of monopolization—as witnessed by four films screened on three evenings. The films digress a bit, but thus hit the mark all the more accurately in the controversial project of not letting oneself be taken possession of by others and their interests. Each investigates in its own way the social aspect and how it is coming under attack by increasingly unscrupulous players.
The reflexive direct-cinema-style study of the modeling and advertising industry in Frederick Wiseman’s «Model» (1980) explores the work involved in producing «good looks», while the intervention «Glückwünsche» («Best Wishes») by the group «MeineAkademie» at the VW (=Volkswagen) Library parodies the affirmative image policies involved in the corporate restructuring of the universities in 2006. In their film «Schuldnerberichte» («Debtor Reports», 2002), Stefan Hayn and Anja-Christin Remmert take radical stock of private crises unwinding in today’s neoliberalist social conditions, and in «Malerei Heute» («Painting Today,» 2005) they conflate advertisingspeak with government policymaking, communicated in a painterly-filmic manner.

April 16, 6.30 pm
Frederick Wiseman
USA, 1980, 129 min., DVD

Frederick Wiseman allows his viewers to feel what it’s like to gradually become aware of relations that have gone wrong; he lets us sink, watchful and alert, into the dialectic of institution and individual. His documentary method does not lay claim to any speculative, authoritarian authenticity kitsch—instead, his «reality fictions» are carefully structured by means of montage, constituting a special brand of social history and critique of everyday life. «Model,» made at a time when the Reagan-era model of neoliberalism tested in Pinochet’s Chile was just being consolidated elsewhere as well, uses the example of the advertising industry to trace at a very early date the compulsion to buy and to sell oneself, i.e. the commodification of the «personality». At the same time, Wiseman reveals a seldom-seen selfreflexive side of himself here, investigating how film and photography are used to produce meaning—by himself as well as by the culture and advertising producers whose work he observes.

Supporting film:
Glückwünsche (Best Wishes)
D, 2006, 13 min., DVD

An intervention on the first birthday of the «Volkswagen University Library» in Berlin. The group «MeineAkademie» takes on the identity of an imaginary organization and asks students about investments made in the university by the car manufacturer.

May 14, 6.30 pm
Guest: Stefan Hayn
Schuldnerberichte –
Privatverschuldung in Berlin
(Debtor Reports—Private Debt
in Berlin)
Stefan Hayn and Anja-Christin Remmert
Camera: Bernadette Paassen
Sound/music: Klaus Barm
D, 2002, 35mm, 88 min.

Debt advisors and scholars who deal with the issue of rising private debt explain that almost every «debt history» starts with a personal crisis. The loss of a job, illness or divorce are repeatedly cited as examples. This film examines the social changes that lay the groundwork for these private plights. On the basis of anonymous interviews, the seven debtors are portrayed in varying manners and their stories juxtaposed with conversations with people whose job it is to deal with private indebtedness. The protagonists in the debtor reports are a journalist, a single mother, a retiree and a painter from West Berlin, a computer expert and a businesswoman from East Berlin, and an inveterate gambler.

As to what kind of documentary this is: the film refuses to either track down and focus the lens on representative authenticity or to fictionalize the documentary material it records. Its form and content take deliberate aim against neo-liberalism, i.e. against «the metaphor for the fact that a relatively small group of capital-owners are able to control extensive parts of social life for the purpose of maximizing their own personal profits.» (S.H. + A-CH.R.)

May 28, 6.30 pm
Guest: Stefan Hayn
Malerei Heute (Painting Today)
Stefan Hayn and Anja-Christin Remmert
Camera: Bernadette Paassen
Sound: Klaus Barm, Katja Neppert
Music: Klaus Barm
D, 2005, 35mm, 61 min.

156 watercolors of advertising and campaign posters found in the Berlin cityscape from 1998 to 2004 are reproduced here on film, with texts (spoken by a woman and two men), music, faces and places.

«Malerei Heute» reacts in the gentlest of ways (with watercolors) to the extremely rigorous propaganda of advertising billboards – rigorous because these elaborately and expensively produced images have the sole aim of selling something. Our film endeavors by contrast in as many ways as possible to see, to feel and to think how an image can be produced and perceived. The film takes a necessary detour through the «inadequate» medium of watercolor, with the paintings later reproduced in the timeline of the narrative. A critic once wrote that the neoliberal transformations initiated by the Social Democrats under Schröder require this special form of documentation in order to display the reactionary process in all its insidious gradualness and its overwhelming potential.» (Stefan Hayn and Anja-Christin Remmert, Journal FIDMarseille 7/06)

«(The film) sets the private realm, the daily work of the filmmaker, working for money, in association with the great economic developments, the random occurrences in the street in a social context, relating the work of image-making to the all-pervasive terror of the visual.»

Texts: Madeleine Bernstorff, Stefan Hayn and Anja-Christin Remmert, MeineAkademie

Anja-Christin Remmert born 1970 in Königs Wusterhausen. 1992–1997 documentary filmmaking studies at the Film Academy of Baden-Württemberg. Has been working with Stefan Hayn since 2000. Films: «Zwischenzeit» (1995), «Gesta» (1997/99), «Im Leben Bleiben» (1998).

Stefan Hayn born 1965 in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Painting and film studies at the University of the Arts in Berlin, Rebecca Horn’s class. 1995-98 projectbased studies at the Film Academy of Baden-Württemberg. Since 1989 he has created films, texts, painting and drawings. Films include «Schwulenfilm» (1989), «Tuntenfilm» (1990), «Pissen» (1990), «Klassenkampf in Amerika» (1993), «Ein Film über den Arbeiter» (1997/98); with Anja-Christin Remmert: «Gespräche mit Schülern und Lehrern» (2000), «Schuldnerberichte » (2002), «Das heiße Eisen» (2005), «Malerei Heute» (2005), «Als Landwirt» (2007) and others.

Frederick Wiseman born 1935 in Boston, Massachusetts/USA. 1964 produced «The Cool World» by Shirley Clarke; since 1967 over 30 documentaries on (American) institutions, including «Titicut Follies» (1967), «High School» (1967), «Welfare» (1975), «Sinai Field Mission» (1978), «Near Death» (1989), «Public Housing» (1997), «State Legislature » (2007).

MeineAkademie formed itself as a political and artistic collective on the occasion of the opening of the Volkswagen University Library of the Technical University and the University of the Arts in Berlin in December 2004. As a reaction, we gathered information on the «sponsorship » deal between Volkswagen and the universities and intervened as friendly scouts in Volkswagen-look. Since then, MeineAkademie has been researching the political and economic background that led to this public-private partnership. (www.jackie-inhalt.net/meineakademie/index.html)

Madeleine Bernstorff born 1956 in Munich. Works as film curator, Super8 filmmaker, researcher. Teaches at art academies and universities in Berlin, Braunschweig, Vienna and elsewhere. Solo and group projects in changing constellations.