Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 261: Thu Sep 22

Who's Afraid of the Bogey Man? (Misselwitz, 1989): Goethe Institute, 7pm

This double-bill is part of
Portraits from an Other Germany, a season of screenings and discussions dedicated to the work of East German documentary filmmaker, Helke Misselwitz. The season is curated by Emily Mason in partnership with the National Film and Television School, the Goethe-Institut London and the ICA. 

As one of the most significant documentary filmmakers of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Helke Misselwitz first gained national recognition within East Germany for her 1988 feature film After Winter Comes Spring. In this, as in much of her work, her sensitive and perceptive interview style creates an intimate frame through which to view the private lives of her contributors. Misselwitz tirelessly seeks out personal stories from ordinary people, an approach which occasionally brought her into conflict with film censors when these stories did not conform to official narratives. 

Goethe Institute introduction:
To begin the season, we will look at some of Misselwitz’s most timely work, filmed in the years leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Bulky Trash (1990) the signs of the times are ever present, with protests against the GDR’s leadership forming the tumultuous background against which the four young musicians at the centre of the film live their lives. Through their punk band, Bulky Trash, ideas around youth culture are explored, as well as questions of how young people relate to older generations, and how they view the possibility of German reunification. 

Who’s Afraid of the Bogeyman? (1989) focuses on coal delivery workers, with the female owner of a family coal business at the forefront. Rather than an overly sentimental view of the work they do, we instead gain an understanding of the problems faced by these workers. Misselwitz’s emphasis on their private lives would have previously been considered taboo in East German cinema, not least due to the discussions of alcoholism, suicide and the possibility of escaping to the West.
35mm screening

Here (and above) is an extract from some of the director's work.

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