Alexander Kluge in Prague is a series of film screenings by the prominent writer, director and producer Alexander Kluge who celebrated his eightieth birthday this February. The Academy of Fine Arts Prague will introduce author’s film works in a three-days programme from the 17th to 19th May which will be in the Czech Republic screened for the very first time.
Alexander Kluge made his first feature film in 1966 Yesterday Girl (Abschied von gestern) which was awarded with the Silver Lion in Venice. This is considered the birth of the New German Cinema. Work by the other representatives of the New Cinema, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog gradually found recognition later on.
Their works made German cinema into an international brand, however Kluge is considered the most radical of all of them. ‘One experience by a film, one insight by a film; this is a crystallized highlight and also this is a structure of the film’ Kluge defined a role of the film medium in the Andreas Ammer’s documentary.
The director is convinced that cinema had taken a wrong turn at its very beginning. He sees narrative based works as suppressing the viewer’s imagination. As a contrast to these works, his more fragmented works are based on one event, experience or insight evoke a loose association for his audience. Kluge’s practice of film essays is a parallel to the Neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, which examined broader social implications of culture in the contemporary society since 1950s; where Alexander Kluge met the German philosopher and music theorist Theodor W. Adorno. Kluge’s work embodies research into culture. He deciphers elements of culture and through epic dialogue he develops theoretical frameworks as the topics of his research.
Kluge examines possibilities of the alternative thought about the way we live. He asks for different readings of history. ‘He brings together life stories, daily routines and everyday wishes and life projects into one space’ philosopher Jürgen Habermas describes work of his friend in the documentary of Angelika Wittlich. This space creates an external and overarching methodology.
There are close links between the structure of film and literature. ‘Unhappiness in itself clouds the possibility to see the truth’, we read in notes at the end of The Battle, 1964 (Schlachtbeschreibung). The author’s analysis of the Stalingrad’s furnace is comparable to his research into the key problems of financial crises in his last project Fruits of Trust, 2009 (Früchte des Vertrauens). In both works he combines acted parts with documentary sources, quotations, private questionnaires, notes from archives and fiction.
The six series of the programme will introduce three full-length features: In Danger and Deep Distress, the Middleway Spells Certain Death (In Gefahr und größter Not bringt der Mittelweg den Tod), The Power of Emotion (Die Macht der Gefühle), Miscellaneous News (Vermischte Nachrichten); there will be also presented chapters from two monumental projects: News from Ideological Antiquity. Marx – Eisenstein – Das Kapital (Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike. Marx – Eisenstein – Das Kapital) and Fruit of Trust (Früchte des Vertrauens) and selection of short films. The programme was curated according to to the relevance to current issues of the contemporary society as the selected works address them more than ever before.
The entry for screenings is free, however on-line registration on the website of the project http://alexander-kluge.avu.cz is necessary and there you can find more information about the work of Alexander Kluge.