Reflections on Berlin Scenes
Edited By Geoff Stahl
Berlin’s Underground Filmmakers & Their (Imagined) Scenes, Inside and Beyond the Wall: 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.
Towards Film Scenes
Until recently the elusive concept of scene had received little scholarly attention. As social theorist Alan Blum writes, ‘Through its scenes the city represents its desire for inhabitation that is both communal and pluralistic...
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