Berlinale Retrospective 2008: Luis Bu単uel and Specials

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This year’s Luis Buñuel Retrospective will commence and conclude at the Volksbühne with two special presentations focusing on Buñuel’s famous directorial debut: his silent film Un chien andalou (France 1929) is to be screened four times, and each time it will be accompanied live by different works of contemporary music.

On February 9, 2008, Un chien andalou will be shown alongside another masterpiece of surrealistic film, Jean Epstein’s La chute de la maison Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher, France 1928), on which Buñuel worked as assistant director. Both films will be presented in restored versions and accompanied live by Dutch musicians Maud Nelissen, Merima Kljuco and Frido ter Beek. With their improvisation, they will provide the proper acoustic environment for the intense and poetic cinematic worlds of Buñuel and Epstein. Composer and pianist Maud Nelissen is one of the most renowned European musicians for silent movies. The French Embassy is supporting the evening, which will be held in cooperation with the Volksbühne.

On February 17, 2008, the Berlinale Kinotag, the 21 musicians of the Spanish Grup Instrumental BCN216 will approach Buñuel’s debut film in three successive screenings of Un chien andalou at the Volksbühne. Under the programmatic title 3 chiens, each composition has its own conception: Clonic Mutations by Catalan musician Sergio López, an acoustic “demystification” of Buñuel’s classic work, full of black humor; Szénario by Mauricio Kagel, a composition for the film from 1981/82; and Las siete vidas de un gato by Martín Matalón, a free association of images and sounds. The Grup Instrumental BCN216 is one of Spain’s most successful ensembles for contemporary music and with 3 chiens it will give its first guest appearance in Germany. This matinee will be presented in cooperation with the Instituto Cervantes, INAEM – Ministerio de Cultura, Institut Ramon Llull and the Spanish Embassy.

In addition to Buñuel’s 32 directorial works, the Retrospective will present a program of eight films to introduce his contributions as assistant director, producer and screenwriter. Buñuel worked for the first time as assistant director on Epstein’s film Mauprat (France 1926), in which he also played two small roles – a monk and a guardsman.

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