Nude Photography – Gundula Schulze, dir. Helke Misselwitz, German Democratic Republic 1983, 12 min., German with English subtitles. Image courtesy of DEFA Stiftung
Photographs and their ability to convey meaning appear time and time again throughout Helke Misselwitz’s work. Through photography, Misselwitz is able to explore intimate, personal experiences, alongside broader social and political events, investigating how these big and small histories are interlinked.
Featuring three of Misselwitz’s shorts, alongside a film from West German filmmaker Jutta Brückner, this programme explores how history can be told through the lives of individuals, and indeed, how our lives can be understood through fragmented images.
This screening will feature an introduction via Zoom from Helke Misselwitz.
Marx Family, dir. Helke Misselwitz, GDR 1983, 6 min., German with English subtitles
Against the backdrop of a house in ruins, we see historical photographs and drawings of Karl Marx and his family and hear excerpts from personal letters written during their time in London in the 1850s. Originally titled Family Report
, this experimental short was made as part of a project commemorating the 100-year anniversary of Marx’s death, but none of the films made were accepted by the authorities. These films were eventually released years later, in 1988.
35 Photos, dir. Helke Misselwitz, GDR 1984, 7 min., German with English subtitles
Commissioned for the 35th anniversary of the GDR, 35 Photos offers a portrait of one woman’s life story, told through one photo per year since her birth. Authorities felt that the film’s subject was an atypical example of an East German woman and banned the film.
Nude Photography – Gundula Schulze, dir. Helke Misselwitz, GDR 1983, 12 min., German with English subtitles
This film centres on the photographer Gundula Schulze, whose work in the 1970s and ’80s captured the intimate details of those living in East Germany. She explains how through her nude photography, she hopes to move past the superficiality of other erotic photographs, instead capturing something more real about her subjects.
Do Right and Fear No One, dir. Jutta Brückner, West Germany 1975, 65 min., German with English subtitles
In another biography told through photographs, West German filmmaker Jutta Brückner fixes her camera on her own mother. Beginning in 1922, we follow her mother’s story as she navigates the tumultuous events of the 20th century. The film foregrounds collective fears, fates and fortunes, interrogating the relationship between the individual and broader society.