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Poor, but Sexy

Reflections on Berlin Scenes

Edited By Geoff Stahl

Poor, But Sexy: Reflections on Berlin Scenes offers readers a varied cross-section of the city’s scenes, providing a prismatic view of one of Europe’s mythical cultural capitals. The authors gathered here address a range of topics, including Turkish gay clubs, queer filmmaking, record labels, the legendary Russendisko, electronic music festivals, the city’s famous techno scene, the clandestine dimensions of its nighttime club culture, and the fraught emergence of the Mediaspree. With the shifting context of post-Wende Berlin its backdrop, this collection puts into relief an electic array of case studies, presenting to readers interested in exploring urban issues a number of critical and analytical perspectives on the city’s cultural life as it moves into the twenty-first century. Poor, But Sexy is an important contribution to the critical analysis of the cultural spaces in the city, and allows readers access to one of the few scholarly overviews of Berlin’s varied cultural life available in English.
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Berlin’s Underground Filmmakers & Their (Imagined) Scenes, Inside and Beyond the Wall: Ger Zielinski

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GER ZIELINSKI

Berlin’s Underground Filmmakers & Their (Imagined) Scenes, Inside and Beyond the Wall1

This is completely mad, this place. (Tilda Swinton in Cycling the Frame (1988))

Long-time experimental filmmaker and critic Jonas Mekas, among others, stated that New York Underground cinema died in the late 1960s.2 For complicated reasons its energy had dissipated and other forms of cinema took its place. My interest in these claims is that they are specific to New York and need to be considered in a larger international context. Part of my own claim in this article is that although the rise and decline of one manifestation of underground cinema may have taken place in New York, other energised “undergrounds” took its place but elsewhere in the world, particularly in West Berlin during the 1970s and 80s. ← 145 | 146 →

Moreover, in relation to those energised undergrounds, I also work through the notion of a film scene, with Berlin as an articulation of spaces and places, the transposed and translated ideas of underground, along with the support of its associated network of sites of exhibition and festivals. Film scenes do not simply happen; they take some sort of place in the city, whether real or imagined.

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