Renate Sami (Berlin, 1935) is a filmmaker and translator whose work resists narrow categorisations. Her films are extremely diverse in form and content, oscillating between the poetic, the observational and the political. As Ute Aurand writes, “Since her first film in 1975, each and every one of her works has emerged from the same strong desire to make this particular film. Whether long or short films, shot on 16 mm, Mini DV or HD, without sound or without dialogue or music – what they all have in common is the special inner freedom with which Renate Sami gives every film its form.”
Renate Sami was moved into becoming a filmmaker aged forty following the death of Holger Meins, the subject of her first film. Later subjects include the work of writers and painters, her films proposing an imaginary dialogue with those of fellow filmmakers such as Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, Harun Farocki and Ute Aurand, with whom Sami co-founded “FilmSamstag” (Film Saturday), a monthly film programme at Kino Filmkunsthaus Babylon Mitte that ran from 1997 to 2007. This In Focus programme is the first survey of her work in the UK.
Oskar Langenfeld. 12 Mal
Holger Meins | 1966 | Germany | 12’ | 16mm
Hooray for Mrs. E (Hurra für Frau E.)
Günter Peter Straschek | 1967 | Germany | 7’ | 16mm
We All Die, The Main Thing However is How and How We Live Our Lives. Holger Meins (Es stirbt allerdings ein jeder Frage ist nur wie und wie du gelebt hast. Holger Meins)
Renate Sami | 1975 | Germany | 60’ | 16mm
“Holger Meins started studying film in 1964. When he was arrested in 1970, he was working as a cameraman on diverse projects and had made a twenty-minute film on a homeless man that was highly esteemed by his fellow students. After leaving jail he became seriously engaged in the protest movement against the war in Vietnam and was again arrested in 1972. He was accused of being a terrorist and died in prison while on a hunger strike in 1974. He was thirty-three. In my film I interview some fellow students, a friend who lived with him for a while, a young woman who was part of a student group. Holger Meins and a fellow student were working on a film project aimed at helping the young ones articulate their problems and translate them into film.” (Renate Sami)
In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, with thanks to the Deutsche Kinemathek
With an introduction by Ute Aurand
Ute Aurand (Germany, 1957) has been a central figure of Berlin’s experimental film scene since the 1980s and is one the most significant filmmakers active in the 16mm diary and portrait tradition today. As a film programmer, she has championed work by women filmmakers, often showing her films in dialogue with those of fellow filmmakers and friends. Together with Renate Sami, Aurand organized the legendary screening series FilmSamstag at Kino Arsenal (1997-2007).