Magic for Beginners in Berlin

Magic for Beginners will screen as part of group program (with a nice title) curated by Pamela Cohn.

MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS Curated by Pamela Cohn


U8/U1 Kottbusser Tor-Skalitzer Strasse 140, Kreuzberg, first floor 04.02.2011 / Friday / 20H

Fallen Art, Tomasz Baginski—6’ 40” animation, Poland, 2004

On a remote atoll, an old, forgotten military base sits somewhere in the Pacific. Soldiers who have lost their minds due to the hardships of past missions and exemplary officers the Army can’t get rid of are sent there. Laws and rules go by the wayside and the lost General creates his unique artwork with an endless supply of material.

The Guarantee, Jesse Epstein—11’ animated documentary, US, 2007

A dancer’s story about his prominent nose and the effect it has on his career. “Pinocchio,” “Schnozola,” “Sir Nose,” Charles grows up to be self-conscious of his prominent Italian nose. Still, he is shocked when one of the teachers at his ballet academy asks him to consider plastic surgery to forward his career. Of course, in ballet, as in life, there are no guarantees as to whether it will land him a starring role. In Part 2 of her Body Typed series, Epstein uses illustration and humor to instigate serious focus on body image, cultural identity, and the often-dangerous pursuits of physical perfection.

There’s a War Outside My Window, Christian Sønderby Jepsen—29’experimental documentary, Denmark, National Film School, 2007

This quietly disturbing film explores the indoctrination of young minds. Five boys from the country are tried and tested in a Danish forest at sundown, receiving and feeding one another random bits of information about a world they have not yet experienced. Insidious and chilling, this is a piece that will stay with you long after it’s over. [Warning for the squeamish: the film contains a graphic scene of chicken slaughter.]Falsche Freunde / False Friends, Sylvia Schedelbauer—4’ 50” experimental, Germany, 2007

Schedelbauer presents a haunting montage of mid-20th century found footage. Mysterious strands are obsessively braided to create a poetic reflection about an anxious interplay of memory and projection. The jury at the German Film Critics’ Award in 2008 had this to say: “With the simple means of old black-and-white archive material and rather familiar, albeit slightly alienated horror soundtrack, the director manages to draw the viewer into the nightmarish atmosphere of the images by the unsettling rhythm of the cuts.” Filmmaker will be present.

Reveries in a Small World, James T. Hong and Yin-Ju Chen—19’ experimental, Taiwan/The Netherlands, 2010

Enter the netherworld of provocative and whip-smart husband and wife team, Hong and Chen, in one of their latest collaborations: The Defense Security Cooperation Agency releases the news that they have notified Congress of a Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States of 35 advanced adaptive control unmanned aerial vehicles. The information they gather, including forays into Disneyland’s Small World, will surprise you.

Real Snow White, Pilvi Takala—9’ experimental documentary, Finland, 2009

A “fake” Snow White wreaks havoc at the gates of Disneyland-Paris, forcing frantic guards to work overtime in the director’s hilarious performance piece. With simple means and great effect, she exposes the fear of the real in the midst of an artificial paradise when as a fan of Disney’s Snow White, she is banned from entering the park dressed as her favorite character since the “real” one is inside ready to pose with paying customers. The slogan ‘Dreams Come True’ means only dreams produced (and owned) exclusively by Disney, of course.

Magic for Beginners, Jesse McLean—20 minutes—experimental, US, 2010

The latest film from this Chicago-based artist examines the mythologies found in fan culture, from longing to obsession to psychic connections. The need for such connections, whether real or imagined, as well as the need for an emotional release that only fantasy can deliver, is explored. [Warning: Halfway through the piece, there is an extended and very intense stroboscopic light effect that may bother some people and/or be dangerous to watch for anyone with an epileptic condition.]

The program is approximately 90 minutes with a 10-minute intermission.