People collecting recyclable bottles on the streets of Berlin are a common sight. It’s also common knowledge that if you’re too lazy to return your bottles you don’t throw them in the trash can but put them at the side for collectors to get at them more easily. During the summer, picnickers, revellers and sunbathers often have their empty bottles ready for the inevitable person who wanders around parks and open places, carrying a big plastic bag or a trolley filled with bottles in the hope of making a few Euros for their troubles – a single bottle usually being worth between eight and 25-cents when returned. The understanding between those who have enough and those who make a living from the waste of others often strikes me as unique and without trying to romanticise the situation, can bring an element of dignity to the situation of poverty.
Somewhere up in the mountains in the Greek region of Thessalía there is a group of ancient monasteries built on sandstone formations, which appear to be the remains of a massive continental drift. These settlements are called metéora, which means “hanging in the air” or “floating” to emphasize their closeness to God and their general otherworldliness. A new film by director Spiros Stathoulopoulos is set in two of these monasteries and tells the simple story of two people falling in love, using images of breath-taking beauty and beautiful unreality.
Like a fly in slow motion the camera moves and moves and moves, in constant search for new impressions, new images, new discoveries, new moods to capture. The camera eye takes its time, like the entire film does, and takes us, the audience, deep into an unreal world which is created through the mind and the memory of its filmmaker and cameraman Marcin Malaszczak.
A little hung over, a little cold, a little lazy and ready to watch some films tonight? I’m sure that description fits most Berliners on this gloomy holiday, and – for Christ’s sake it’s Ascension Day! – so let’s all start a heavenly journey to Moviemento and see some sexy and unholy queer films and have a little party at Südblock afterwards. Yes, it’s time for Xposed again and -come on-who wouldn’t love to discover some hot 1960s experimental films by a Swedish underground pioneer slash heroine, watch the new kinky compilation film by art-pornographer Antonio da Silva and listen to Antony and the Johnsons during the opening film?! So get your asses off the couch and start a little pilgrimage to Kottbusser Damm where the next 3 ½ days will be filled with exciting cinematic trips, programmed with love, lust and experience.
It was almost seven years ago that the work of a Berlin-based filmmaker changed the way I watched films entirely. There was a big retrospective at the Arsenal and I was extremely curious to discover someone whose films had labels like “women’s film” “art film” “queer cinema” and “independent director” attached to them. I had seen images of wild costumes, extravagant make-up, outlandish performers and fantastic imagery before I had actually seen the films they were taken from. Of all the magical hours I had spent getting sucked into this mad universe, one film had stayed with me the most. It is called Freak Orlando and its director is a true artist and can be best described as an untamed magician: Ulrike Ottinger.