UNERHÖRT! 2016: 21. - 24. September
10 YEARS OF ATTITUDE –
10 YEARS OF STANCES
10 YEARS OF STANCES
A word from the curatorFor its 10th birthday UNERHÖRT! seems to be, again, quite a viable seismograph. What strikes most in this year's program are the intense efforts to make a point and to express composure. Maybe the impression of intensification has to do with the overall circumstances, as composure (or attitude) is something we can witness all the time when people are trying to communicate what they do, when they look for publicity and dialogue. Nonetheless, in this strange year of extra-famous artists deaths and an ever higher rotating cult of fear, those efforts just seem more serious and urgent again.
Let's call the Lucía Palacios' und Dietmar Post's film DEUTSCHE POP ZUSTÄNDE – EINE GESCHICHTE RECHTER MUSIK (engl.: GERMAN POP CONDITIONS) a particularily symptomatic example of questioning the conditions we live in (here). The directorial duo has since long proven that it knows how to provide well researched and intelligently built examinations about Popular Culture with German ingredients, for instance in their films about THE MONKS, a 60s band formed of US soldiers stationed in West-Germany; or their portrayal of Donna Summer and her heavy involvment in Euro-Disco Made in Munich. Their new work conveys explicitly the appropriation of popular culture as we know it by very right-wing ideologies in the German context.
Director Oliver Schwabe, too, is concerned by not letting retrospection become cozy nostalgia. A familiar guest of UNERHÖRT!'s programs, Schwabe is known for his thorough work with TV archives and his ambition to always build bridges between past and present. In his films, people interrogate history (pop history, that is) with the clear intention of filtering out of the past what can be useful today. This is true again for his KEINE ATEMPAUSE (engl.: No breathing pause, referring to the title of a German Punk classic from the Band FEHLFARBEN), his freshly made portrayal of the Punk scene of the West-German city of Düsseldorf, very influential in the end of 70s/beginning of the 80s. This is, so to speak, Part 3 of Schwabe's German Punk trilogy, after previous films about the Hamburg and the Berlin scene. Actually, there are plans to make a bigger film on whole Punk Germany, and Schwabe is going to speak about that. The project's working title is GOTTSEIDANK NICHT IN ENGLAND (engl.: Thanxgod not in England), not to be misunderstood as another Brexit joke, but realting to yet another FEHLFARBEN song.
DAF at Düsseldorf Airport 1981 © Gleim
FAST WELT WEIT (english title - which is not quite a literal translation: THE WORLD, ALMOST) by Caroline Kirberg is the home match of this year's UNERHÖRT! program, insofar as it deals with a group of young pop enthusiasts from early 80s Eastern Westphalia province longing for metropolitan Hamburg. 30 years later, in and for the film, they reassemble around a campfire on a farm in their rural hometown, and reflect on their paths of glory, as a few really have made it in the German context (Frank Spilker with his band DIE STERNE, Bernd Begemann, Bernadette La Hengst, Michael Girke, and more). At times, they reach philosophical heights, and that had actually always been their specialty: go get from the banal to the essence and back in the blink of an eye. The situation provides a statement which is cristal-clear as it was a motto for UNERHÖRT!: "Music could be so beautiful. But it doesn't have to."
FAST WELT WEIT is a short about the independant label "Fast Weltweit". It is part of a double bill titled "Two record labels from Germany", together with FREIHEIT FREIHEIT WIRKLICHKEIT (engl.: LIBERTY LIBERTY REALITY), a one year observational doc about the contempary label "Analogsoul", based in East-German Leipzig. This second short calls itself "a film about a living with music", and the audience is invited to make the test: Do musicians across the nation and through generations ask themselves similar questions?
FAST WELT WEIT © Archiv Achim Knorr
But of course, UNERHÖRT! does not restrict its view to local events, it never has:
In INSIDE THE MIND OF FAVELA FUNK, two young female directors from the Netherlands present to us the harsh realities of one very poor neighborhood from Rio de Janeiro. They do it by focussing on the today most popular brazilian sound called Favela Funk. But they do look at the listeners, dancers and fans – and get a psychological x-ray of Brazil's society from below.
The opening film this year is going to be MALI BLUES. It showcases four very different musical styles coming from West African Mali – electrified traditional Ngoni play, Tuareq Blues, Afro Pop and Rap –, hence very diverse artist personalities, and diverging backgrounds of experience. What all of the protagonists have in common is their urging need to fight for tolerant Islam and reconciliation in their war torn country. As implemented last year, we are going to be the guests in Metropolis theatre, invited by our friends from dokART. We are happy to show this outstanding film a week before its nationwide theatrical release, and very curious about meeting the ambassador of Mali who might bring in some guests for the occasion …
MALI BLUES © Konrad Waldmann
In contrast, Farid Eslam's film YALLAH! UNDERGROUND about musical subcultures in the Middle East before, during and after the so called Arab Spring, has been in the treadmill of international film festivals for more than a year now – an still isn't distributed properly in Germany. The hyper-active Eslam, raised in Germany, now living in Czechia, guides us through five neighboring nations, all epicenters of world geopolitics, and makes us meet young people who combine sounds of their respective home countries with Western styles, out of an urge for self-expression.
Talking about combining: When, as in JUNUN, a band member and a sound engineer of RADIOHEAD, a variety of musicians from Rajasthan and an Israeli composer who happens to be a specialist for indian-muslim spiritual music get together in an Indian fortress which is half a millenium old, than you can expect to make a highly energetic and synesthetic experience. But more than that: You will see, hear and feel what it could be like reach out one another. The extraordinary encounter of Shye Ben Tzur, the Rajasthan Express and Jonny Greenwood of RADIOHEAD and their sound engineer Nigel Godrich has been filmed by no one other than Paul Thomas Anderson who has become an American Arthouse icon with films like BOOGIE NIGHTS, MAGNOLIA, and more recently INHERENT VICE.
JUNUN Filmposter © Shin KATAN
Than, we have another double bill labeled "Jamaican Music and homophobia", with two films presented by Vice/Noisey. First, we will get confronted, in YOUNG & GAY: JAMAICA’S GULLY QUEENS, to the very tough conditions of life vor jamaican gay and lesbian people. This is followed by the film OUT AND BAD: LONDON’S LGBT DANCEHALL SCENE, showing one option to react to persecution and oppression: exile, and its promises and backfalls. After the screenings, a discussion will be held between members of both local scenes, the Hamburg Reggae/Dancehall and the Hamburg LGBT community. Free admission for the whole double bill.
OUT AND BAD © Vice/Noisey
Vice Magazine hits where it hurts, we know that since the film HEAVY METAL IN BAGDHAD. But sometimes you have to look to the inside, actually that's where most of the pain is coming from (from an American perspective). The third film presented by Vice/Noisy THE REDEMPTION OF THE DEVIL reflects on that by giving us a portrayal of Rock star stage hog Jesse "The Devil" Hughes, singer and guitar player of the EAGLES OF DEATH METAL. We get closer than we wished to a torn personality, including heavy flirtations of the protagonist with archconservative politics. The attacks of the Bataclan in Paris are never mentioned in this documentary, but it is hard not to feel them while watching Mr Hughes exposing himself to the max.
On the margins of this film of psychological abysses appears Hughes' buddy Josh Homme, leading member of bands such as QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and KYUSS. In LO SOUND DESERT, an acurate, almost history book-like account of the Stoner Rock scene, Homme is a key figure, and certainly its biggest Rock VIP. LO SOUND DESERT reveals tons of context information on the backdrop of the American Way of Life meeting the Californian Desert.
The really big fame is the issue in BLUR: NEW WORLD TOWERS – FROM HONG KONG TO HYDE PARK AND BACK. Inbetween gorgeous images of two gigantic concerts, we witness a long journey, in time, in space, and metaphorically, so that we can get really close to the lives of these musicians – who partly did the filming themselves.
We are happy to announce that UNERHÖRT!'s tenth birthday is coming with two new venues, the eastHotel cinema, and the cinema lounge at the Golem's. Here, UNERHÖRT! is having a focus on more experimental stuff. Alongside the above mentioned KEINE ATEMPAUSE three films are going to be screened there which can easily labeled as "Applied Sound Research":
In HOT SUGAR’S COLD WORLD we meet manic sound archivist Nick Koenig aka Hot Sugar who tends to make quite strange field recordings using objects as diverse as soda powder and real skulls …
VOICE – SCULPTING THE SOUND WITH MAJA S. K. RATKJE follows Norvegian composer, electronic musician and vocalist Maja Ratkje for one year travelling through Europe and living a life with music.
© Kai Miedendorp
With MELODY OF NOISE we travel to Switzerland and meet a whole bunch of manipulators of noise who make our image of Swiss uprightness evaporate in no time. And what's that thing with noise, anyway? As Bruno Spoerri puts it, one of the film's protagonists, and internationally acclaimed Jazz musician experimenting with computers: "The difference between music and noise is, if you want to listen to it or not." Just another potential UNERHÖRT! claim …
Julian Sartorius in MELODY OF NOISE
Two more neighbors of Germany, two very distinct topics:
In GIRL POWER Czech Graffiti artist Sany introduces us to the international scene of female graffiti writers, a self-portrait in the global context, so to speak. Sany is, by the way, one of eight female directors in the UNERHÖRT! program. That's not bad, but still far from level compared to her 21 male colleagues.
In ROBERT & THE NEVER ENDING TOUR we have acces to the obsessive behaviours of a young Bob Dylan-fan, depicted very dryly, in an Austrian way, which means that it is funny and bizarre in the same time.
ROBERT Filmposter © Gerald Zahn
Last but not least:
IN THE AUDIO-VISUAL MAZE – A GUIDED TOUR FOR MOVIE CONNOISSEURS by Berlin-based Israeli Video artist and VJ pioneer Assaf Etiel aka VJ Safy Sniper, gives us a rollercoaster ride through a flood of images and sounds. Sniper choses film scenes from all areas of Film History, and recomposes them in a way which gives music the leading role in an exciting show, a life performance, improvided and raw and intense, an open-ended process.
Collage © VJ Safy Sniper