Video Program:
Summer Crossing*


JULY 10 – JULY 31, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                <i>Damni i colori</i> (2003)<br />
© Anri Sala
Damni i colori (2003)

© Anri Sala

SALT Beyoğlu, Walk-in Cinema

*Title is from Truman Capote’s first novel

Restricted Sensation
Deimantas Narkevičius
2011, 45’26”
Lithuanian, Russian & Polish with English subtitles

Public negativity towards sexual and racial minorities is still widely spread in Central Europe. The starting point of this film was the inherited homophobia and intolerance for otherness in general, on which undergoing political reforms did not really have an impact. It is a fictional story inspired by homosexual life during the Soviet period.

Laimonas, the main character, loses his job at a theater, where he acted as a stage-manager. He is suspected to be gay. The events take place in Soviet Lithuania during the 70s, when homosexuality was criminalized. Article 122 of the Soviet Penal Code condemned “sexual intercourse between male partners” with a penalty of 3 years of imprisonment. Laimonas is arrested and taken to the police station for this reason. An investigator, who is a KGB officer, falls in love with this young detainee, despite his obligation to examine Laimonas and prepare a case against him for the court.

The Man in the Background
Lene Berg
2006, 20’
Norwegian & English with English subtitles

“The Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) is widely considered one of the CIA’s more daring and effective Cold War covert operations. It published literary and political journals such as Encounter, hosted dozens of conferences bringing together some of the most eminent Western thinkers … Somehow this organization of scholars and artists – egotistical, free-thinking, and even anti-American in their politics – managed to reach out from its Paris headquarters to demonstrate that Communism, despite its blandishments, was a deadly foe of art and thought.”
-Quote from On Intelligence, CIA’s homepage

The Man in the Background is built around a sequence of 8 mm images from 1958, shot by Michael Josselson, the director of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), and his wife Diana. The images show the couple on a trip through Western Europe in 1958, ending on Rhodes where they take part in a seminar with friends and colleagues from all over the world. In other words: seemingly typical amateur holiday images. What makes them not-so-typical is what they don’t show and what was not generally known at the time; mainly that Michael Josselson was a CIA-agent within the field of art and culture and that the seminar the couple were visiting was secretly financed by the CIA, as one of many undertakings of the CCF during the 50s and 60s.

Are we witnessing a love-story? A thriller? A historical drama? An absurd comedy? Or a philosophical and/or political dilemma? Is Michael Josselson to be considered a hero, a villain, a victim, a simple cheater or a daring adventurer?

Filmform is the distributor.

Stalin by Picasso or Portrait of Woman with Moustache
Lene Berg
2008, 31’
English without subtitles

With very simple means, mainly through collages and voice-over, this video tells the story of a more or less forgotten Picasso-drawing and its consequences. In March 1953, Pablo Picasso drew a portrait of Joseph Stalin on the request of his friend Louis Aragon. The drawing was published in the French communist weekly Les Lettres Françaises together with various texts praising the newly deceased Soviet leader.

On one level, it is a story that evolves around two seemingly opposite icons from the 20th century, Picasso and Stalin, and what they had, or didn’t have, in common. On a different level, it is a story about art and artistic freedom, or un-freedom, and of ways of reading and using images, particularly images of so-called great men. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this anecdote from the beginning of the cold war is how a simple charcoal drawing can stir such strong feelings, discussions and intrigue as this one did.

Filmform is the distributor.

Lars Laumann
2008, 23’56”
English without subtitles

The video Berlinmuren (2008) tells the story of a highly unusual relationship: the love affair between the Swedish woman Eija-Riita Berliner-Mauer and the Berlin Wall. She considers November 9th, 1989, the day the Wall “fell,” the saddest day of her life. Berliner-Mauer now lives in Liden in northern Sweden where, besides running a museum that displays models of guillotines and the Berlin Wall, she moderates a number of websites about the Wall and the phenomenon of human love for objects.

Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

Magical World
Johanna Billing
2005, DVD, 6’12” (Loop)
Without dialogue

Magical World was shot during a summer day in 2005 in a free after-school center in Dubrava, a suburb of Zagreb. The looped and therefore never ending footage of children rehearsing the 1968 Rotary Connection song “Magical World” (written by Sidney Barnes) acts as an anthem for an uncertain future and presents a glimpse of a country in transformation.

The children, who were all born after the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s, deliver a haunting and hopeful rendition with reservation and pride. In forced and newly learned English, a young Croatian boy sings the enigmatic and defiant first lines: “Why do you want to wake me from such a beautiful dream? Can’t you see that I am sleeping? We live in a Magical World…” The images move from inside the music room to the outside, capturing the run down surroundings of this cultural center that was constructed in the 80s but has been left unfinished, mirroring a community still recovering from the break-up of former Yugoslavia.

Courtesy Hollybush Gardens, London

Dammi i colori
Anri Sala
2003, 15’25”
Albanian with English subtitles
(With Edi Rama)

“When I first showed the city footage in Poughkeepsie, Liam Gillick said to me, ‘Anri, tell me the truth. Tell me that this city does not exist. Please tell me that you do not have an artist - Mayor friend?’

The city was dead. It looked like a transit station where one could stay only if waiting for something. It looked like a body that kept growing silently older, where all the turbulence of the riots, and the events that occurred took place as if in an alien setting. It was like in a place that swallowed up everything without being affected.

This is a question of finding out how this city can become habitable and how to transform it from a city where you are doomed to live by fate into a city where you choose to live.”
-Anri Sala

Courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Hauser & Wirth Zürich London; Johnen/Schöttle, Berlin, Cologne, Munich

The World Won’t Listen
Phil Collins
2005, 62’

Filmed in Colombia, Turkey and Indonesia, three-part video installation The World Won’t Listen features fans of the influential indie-rock band The Smiths performing karaoke versions of tracks from their 1987 compilation album of the same name.


Tuesday, July 10
14.00 Stalin by Picasso or Portrait of Woman with Moustache
15.00 Stalin by Picasso or Portrait of Woman with Moustache
16.00 The Man in the Background
18.00 Berlinmuren
18.30 Berlinmuren

Wednesday, July 11
14.00 Berlinmuren
16.00 Stalin by Picasso or Portrait of Woman with Moustache
18.00 The Man in the Background (Looped until 20.00)

Thursday, July 12
14.00 The Man in the Background
16.00 Berlinmuren
18.00 Stalin by Picasso or Portrait of Woman with Moustache

Friday, July 13
14.00 Berlinmuren
16.00 Stalin by Picasso or Portrait of Woman with Moustache
18.00 The Man in the Background

Saturday, July 14
12.00 Magical World (Looped)

Sunday, July 15
12.00 The Man in the Background
14.00 Berlinmuren
16.00 Stalin by Picasso or Portrait of Woman with Moustache

Tuesday, July 17
The World Won’t Listen (Looped)

Thursday, July 19
Restricted Sensation (Looped)

Friday, July 20
The World Won’t Listen

Saturday, July 21
Dammi i colori (Looped)

Sunday, July 22
Magical World (Looped)

Tuesday, July 24
14.00 Stalin by Picasso or Portrait of Woman with Moustache
16.00 The Man in the Background
18.00 Berlinmuren

Wednesday, July 25
Restricted Sensation (Looped)

Thursday, July 26
Dammi i colori (Looped)

Friday, July 27
Magical World (Looped)

Saturday, July 28
The World Won’t Listen (Looped)

Tuesday, July 31
Dammi i colori (Looped)