PETER WEISS. SHORTFILMS 1952-1957, 1952-1957
14 Dec 2018 – 15 Feb 2019

The “Soggettiva” series, cinematographic works chosen by personalities from different environments, who have been invited to share with the public their favorite films as well as most significant ones for their cultural education, continues with “Soggettiva Luc Tuymans”, a film project organized in collaboration with the CINEMATEK – Royal Belgian Film Archive in Brussels and conceived by artist Luc Tuymans, curator of the exhibition “Sanguine. Luc Tuymans on Baroque,” on show until 25 February 2019 at the Fondazione’s premises in Milan.

The presentation of the new series of “Soggettiva” will take place on Friday 14 December 2018 at the Fondazione Prada Cinema. At 6 pm, a conversation will take place between Tuymans and the film director Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, followed by the projection of the first part of Syberberg’s Hitler, ein Film aus Deutschland (Hitler, a Film from Germany, 1977). Entrance is free upon booking. The director will also meet the public on Sunday 16 December at 6 pm, before the projection of the first part of his film (entrance to the event is free).

Tuymans’ selection includes nine feature films and seven short films that will be shown in Fondazione Prada Cinema until 15 February 2019: Greed (USA, 1924) by Erich von Stroheim, Peter Weiss. Shortfilms 1952-1957 (Sweden) by Peter Weiss, Le Mépris (Contempt – France, Italy, 1963) by Jean-Luc Godard, Medea (Italy, 1969) by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Malpertuis (Belgium, France, Germany, 1971) by Harry Kümel, Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre, the Wrath of God – Germany, 1972) by Werner Herzog, Hitler, ein Film aus Deutschland (Hitler, A Film from Germany – Germany, 1977) by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, Blue Velvet (USA, 1986) by David Lynch, There Will Be Blood (USA, 2007) by Paul Thomas Anderson and The Social Network (USA, 2010) by David Fincher.

The film program selected by Luc Tuymans (Belgium, 1958) – which will be also presented at the CINEMATEK – Royal Belgian Film Archive in Brussels in March 2019 – includes movies which marked the artist’s intellectual and artistic development at the time they were released and which he considers crucial for young generations for their “physical intelligence”, “psychological and pictorial features,” and modernity. These films investigate universal themes like power, revenge and greed, conveying an original political vision, one that is cynical and not optimistic about the human condition.

One of the most significant films selected by Tuymans is the breakthrough movie by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg (Germany, 1935), the most experimental and radical filmmaker in Neuer Deutscher Film (New German Cinema), an avant-garde movement of renewal formed in 1962 by such filmmakers as Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Alexander Kluge, Edgar Reitz and Wim Wenders. Lasting 429 minutes, the film is a collective grief of the tragedy of Nazism, a cinematographic ritual that puts Hitler and the dominant strand of German thought on trial. In 1980 Susan Sontag reviewed the film as follows: “Leavening romantic grandiosity with modernist ironies, Syberberg offers a spectacle about spectacle: evoking “the big show” called history in a variety of dramatic modes—fairy tale, circus, morality play, allegorical pageant, magic ceremony, philosophical dialogue, Totentanz (the dance of death)—with an imaginary cast of tens of millions and, as protagonist, the Devil himself. […] Hitler is depicted through examining our relation to Hitler (the theme is “our Hitler” and “Hitler-in-us”), as the rightly unassimilable horrors of the Nazi era are represented in Syberberg’s film as images or signs.”

Tuymans considers Hitler, a Film from Germany fundamental to the present era, “during a period in which Europe is shot through with populism. Syberberg had a premonition of the meaning of Europe that today we have lost. I feel that his film is a very effective way to tackle themes like war, the Holocaust and culture. Hitler has the scope of an epic, in the sense of Greek theatre, and takes up a position in opposition to the Hollywood machine. All my work on the Second World War is bound up with Syberberg’s reflection.”

The director has commented on the projection of his film at the Fondazione Prada as follows: “Forty-one years after its screening in London and Paris, Hitler, a Film from Germany arrives in Milan as part of an exhibition project curated by a Belgian artist. As already perceived in New York in 1980, it shows us how Europe is today. An unprecedented answer to the history of this world in decline.”

Video

Fondazione Prada Cinema | Soggettiva Luc Tuymans | Luc Tuymans interview