Date: Saturday 9 April 2022
Time: 2:00 pm
Venue: Goethe Institute, London
The Next Century Will Be Ours (The History of the German Women’s Movement from 1830 to 1860) (Das nächste Jahrhundert wird uns gehören (Die Geschichte der deutschen Frauenbewegung zwischen 1830 und 1860)), Claudia von Alemann, 1986/1987, 16mm transferred to digital, 90 minutes, German with English subtitles
Bright Nights (Lichte Nächte / Nuits Claires), West Germany, 1988, video transferred to digital, 60 minutes, French with English subtitles.
The programme presents two films that have a close relation to Blind Spot and explore the history and writings the early feminist movement in nineteenth-century Germany and later, feminist filmmaking.
Firstly, The Next Century Will Be Ours (The History of the German Women’s Movement from 1830 to 1860), (Das nächste Jahrhundert wird uns gehören (Die Geschichte der deutschen Frauenbewegung zwischen 1830 und 1860)) (1986/1987), is a two-part historical feature and documentary film made for television and cinema distribution, exploring the history and writings of four women protagonists of the early women’s movement in nineteenth-century Germany (Luise Otto-Peters, Louise Aston, Kathinka Zitz and Mathilde Franziska Anneke). As in Blind Spot, a woman from the present travels through historical periods and spaces to listen to these women and their stories of struggle. The dialogue of the film is composed of quotations from texts, novels and manifestos written by the four women. The film was shot in a deserted film studio, with remarkable sets designed by Jürgen Rieger and the excellent cinematography of Hille Sagel. British musician, composer and political feminist activist Lindsay Cooper composed the original score for the film.
The second film in this programme is Bright Nights (Nuits Claires, 1988), an essay film shot in Easter 1988 in Paris, where Claudia von Alemann lived and worked for many years. The filmmaker invited two friends, feminist filmmakers Danielle Jaeggi from Paris and Paule Baillargeon from Montréal, who had never met before, to join her in a rented cinema and develop an artistic and psychological experiment. Closed together in that space, they screened and looked closely at three of their feature films and talked openly and frankly about their films, the intentions behind them, and about their aesthetic impact, considering their roles as mothers, film directors and feminists. In the film they discuss the influence their daughters have on their filmmaking and how they are influenced by it and share their dreams, desires, doubts and contradictions, expressing their fears and joys.
This screening will be followed by a conversation with Claudia von Alemann.
Claudia von Alemann
The Essay Film Festival and the Goethe-Institut London in collaboration with the ICA present a programme of screenings and discussions dedicated to the work of German filmmaker Claudia von Alemann.
The focus is on three films dealing with the writing of early feminist histories in France and Germany and the work of women filmmakers. The screenings include the restoration of Alemann’s first feature film, Blind Spot (1981) and two other films shown in the UK for the first time, The Next Century Will Be Ours (1986/87), and the video-essay Bright Nights (1988).
Claudia von Alemann was born in Seebach, Germany. She studied art history and sociology at the Freie Universität Berlin and film at the Ulm School of Design. Her early documentaries deal with international political issues, with films covering such topics as May 1968, Kathleen and Eldridge Cleaver’s time in Algeria, the efforts of women in the Vietnam war, and the exploitation of female factory workers in West Germany. In 1973 she co-organised, with Helke Sander, the First International Women’s Film Festival at the Kino Arsenal, Berlin. She pursued a fascinating career in publishing, translating, teaching and as a freelance filmmaker, author and independent producer, continuing to experiment in different forms and mediums, directing feature films, experimental videos, and documentaries. These include feature films like Blind Spot (1981) and The Next Century Will be Ours (1986/87), the essay film Bright Nights (1988), the video piece The Women’s Room (part of several video-art collections, like MoMA), and documentary portraits of artists such as photographer Abisag Tüllmann.
With special thanks to Claudia von Alemann, and acknowledging the support of the Deutsche Kinemathek, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and Hessischer Rundfunk.