Open City Documentary Festival

across London
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In Focus: Renate Sami 2

The Protection Foil
(Die Schutzfolie)
Renate Sami | 1983 | Germany | 8’ | 16mm

“This film was produced to be included in a compilation of films against the construction of atomic bombs and nuclear power plants. Some trees and bushes, a clearing. A young man tries to wrap himself in a foil, and a girl who sings about love accompanies herself on a children’s bandoneon.” (Renate Sami)

Cesare Pavese Turin – Santo Stefano Belbo
Renate Sami & Petra Seeger | 1985 | Germany | 60’ | 16mm

“Cesare Pavese was born in 1908 in Santo Stefano Belbo, a small town in the mountains between Turin and Genoa. He lived and worked in Turin, where he committed suicide in 1950. He was forty-two. These two places also play a part in his last two novels—Turin in Tra donne sole and Santo Stefano Belbo in La luna e i falò—and so we will walk through these two places, arriving at the station just like the main characters in both novels. There are two interviews—one with Massimo Mila, a writer and Pavese’s friend in Turin, the other with Pinolo Scaglione, a carpenter and cooper and his friend from childhood in Santo Stefano Belbo.” (Renate Sami)

when you see a rose
(wenn du eine rose siehst)
Renate Sami | 1995 | Germany | 4’ | 16mm

“Under the spell of Cathy Berberian’s voice, scraps of melodies and poems in my head in love with spring and summer’s flowers I walked through streets and gardens, pastures, fields and forests and by the end of that summer 1995 I had a little film which ends somewhat melancholically with some chords of Gustav Mahler’s ‘Traveling Journeyman’s Songs’.” (Renate Sami)

In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, with thanks to the Deutsche Kinemathek 

With an introduction by Ute Aurand and Robert Beavers

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).

Born in Brookline Massachusetts in 1949, Robert Beavers attended school in Weymouth (MA), then Boston Latin School and Deerfield Academy before meeting the filmmaker Gregory J. Markopoulos and making his first 16mm film in New York City in 1966. This film was shown at the Fourth International Experimental Film Competition in Knokke-le-Zoute (Belgium) the following year. By that time Beavers had re-located to Europe with Markopoulos, and over the next decades he made films in Greece, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Between 1980 and 1986 he joined Markopoulos in preparing the annual Temenos film screenings in Lyssarea, Greece. In the 1990s he re-edited the sound tracks for nearly all of his films and created the Temenos Inc. and Association to support the Archive that Markopoulos had envisioned. In the past few years there have been film retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Tate Modern, Pacific Film Archive and Austrian Filmmuseum. He lives with the filmmaker, Ute Aurand in Berlin and Massachusetts and continues to film in 16mm.

“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.””