Review of Cinefest 2020

Cover of the catalog

Last Sunday we finished our cinefest Kino, Krieg und Tulpen. Deutsch-niederländische Filmbeziehungen(13-22 November), as well as our three-day (20-22 November) – intense but very gratifying – Zoom conference.

It’s almost a miracle we’ve managed to realize it all, despite corona. A few weeks ago, when Germany closed down all cinemas including the Hamburg Metropolis Kino, and international travel basically became impossible, we had to change overnight to an alternative version. As digitization at the EYE Filmmuseum is ahead of the German archives, and a group of 1930s Dutch films mostly made with collaboration of German migrant directors and crew members was available to be put online without rights problems, we were saved by the bell – apart from all the extra labor on speedy translations in English or German added to the films. See e.g. films with English subtitles such as Pygmalion (1937) by Ludwig Berger, Boefje (1939) by Douglas Sirk, or Dood Water (1934) by Gerard Rutten, or with German subtitles, De Kribbebijter (1935) by Henry Koster. We also filmed ourselves for short introductions, now available on the Cinefest website. And the good news is that most of these films will remain online, on EYE’s playlist on YouTube. In addition, EYE has also put online a nice selection of rare early German fiction and nonfiction films from EYE’s Desmet Collection, including exiting pursuits by Joseph Delmont for the company Eiko: either at the wastelands of Berlin [my guess], or through the streets, alleys, and canals of Rotterdam [which before the war was a canal town like Amsterdam]. Also memorable is Delmont’s trip to the archaic, picturesque village of Marken for his film Auf einsamer Insel (1913), for which even a local boat was bought and burned.

The Dutch 17th century according to the DEFA: Zar und Zimmermann (Hans Müller, 1956)

At the conference I gave a keynote on a panoramic overview of our conference program on the one hand, and a historiographic overview of research and publications on German-Dutch film relationships since the 1980s, with the 1982 manifestation and volume Berlin-Amsterdam 1920-1940 as key reference point. I was therefore most obliged the thriving force behind manifestation and book, Kathinka Dittrich, was present herself. All in all, we were in good company with avant-garde experts such as Thomas Tode and Anke Steinborn, film music expert Timur Sijaric, resistance films expert Tobias Temming, scholars bridging (aesthetic and gender) theory and history when researching Dutch documentary, we had socio-economic approaches of Dutch UFA-cinemas and German newsreels depicting the Netherlands, biographical portraits of actors, directors and producers, and so on. Among our attendees were respected scholars such as Tim Bergfelder, Jan-Christopher Horak, and Christian Rogowski, while panel leaders were e.g. Hans-Michael Bock, Andreas Thein, and last but not least Jan Distelmeyer, whose students had made the wonderful teaser and trailer for the festival and who were present too.

The wonderful, lavishly illustrated and well informed catalog can still be obtained for little money (see Cinefest website). It gives a hint about the original program we hope to show next Spring onsite at the Metropolis Kino in Hamburg.

Cover of the – voluminous – volume accompanying the manifestation
Berlin-Amsterdam 1920-1940 (1982).

~ by Ivo Blom on November 24, 2020.

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