Germany as a nation has not understood films as deeply as India, says film curator and film archiver,Stefanie Schulte Strathaus as she sits down to talk about the film culture of Germany. Having worked as the director of Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V.Arsenal-Berlin,Starthaus was in the city as a part of programme organised by the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) and Majlis,Mumbai. The thing about films from Germany is that most of the films are only about 12-14 years old. Prior to the unification of Germany the film industry in West Germany was largely an underground one and the one in East Germany was closely controlled by the government. As a result there wasn’t much scope for the cinematic expression of thoughts back then, she says,adding,Nevertheless even through the underground film movement we can get a glimpse into the life and times of the common people and the manner in which they would go about expressing themselves.
Some of the films that were showcased on Monday,May 28,at the NFAI include the 1985 A-B-City,Super Smile,BERLUN Paupau Bau,NullPanorama and Avi Mograbhi’s film A Night at the Archives. Describing the films she says,Most of the films are all short films of under ten minutes in length. For instance BERLUN tells the story of a girl who has migrated from Turkey to Berlin and is faced with the change in culture. On the other hand NullPanorama is a 47 second film which explores the scenario of East and West Berlin through a hot air balloon.