We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Click here for more information.

In Conversation with Antje Ehmann, on the Legacy of Harun Farocki

Antje Ehmann reflects on her time collaborating with video-essayist and artist Harun Farocki and her work as custodian of his estate.
Flavia Dima
Casa ISHO is a small art gallery, nestled within a landscape of tall glass buildings not that far away from the center of Timișoara—a construction which would have been unimaginable thirty years ago, when Harun Farocki first set foot in the town together with Andrei Ujică while researching their seminal 1992 work, Videograms of a Revolution. The film’s first minutes are set in the town which laid the spark for what would become the Romanian Revolution, which would topple the local communist regime at the cost of over 1000 lives—an event that Farocki and Ujică reconstructed from both official and amateur footage, playing with the tangled-up chronology, and then deconstructed in terms of its mediality. Videograms was Farocki’s last major feature film before he migrated into a successful career on the modern arts circuit together with his partner, Antje Ehmann. All of which ties together into the symbolic importance of Reality Would Have to Begin (2020), their first-ever show in Timișoara, which was curated by Diana Marincu with the support of the Farocki estate. Another symbolic element is one of the exhibition’s centerpieces, Interface (1995), a double-screen installation that was Farocki’s first work intended for the art circuit, in which he looks back on his most important films and his unique process of editing and associating images.
Spanning over three decades of work—starting with what is arguably his most important feature film, Images of the World and the Inscription of War (1998) up to some of his last pieces, such as Labor in a Single Shot (2011) and Tropes of War (2011)—Reality Would Have to Begin is both an introduction to Farocki as well as a summation of his major techniques and thematic leitmotifs: from found footage films to works which highlight punitive structures and labor relations, to reflexive essays which vivisect moving images and montage, oftentimes the author’s own. The exhibition also reflects what seems to be an ever-increasing local interest in the works of Farocki, that is courted equally by cinephiles, people from the contemporary arts sphere and theoreticians alike—and which also seems to be evident in the increasing output of found footage films and essay-films amongst young Romanian filmmakers.
However, the key figure that was also working on the sightlines (as he put it in the title of his 2004 essay collection) with Farocki during his last twenty years is one who is consistently overlooked when most people approach the auteur’s late works. That person is Antje Ehmann, his creative and intimate partner, and as is often the case in the history of the arts and in cinema, female creators are written out of the narratives, or relegated to the footnotes, when they are working and/or living with towering male artistic figures. Here, on the other hand, one can feel the sensibility of a potently self-aware female gaze in Diana Marincu’s finely-tuned curatorship, which reestablishes Ehmann as a creator in her own right, creating a space in which she is not only seen, but also heard as she describes each particular work—a context in which she can finally be heard on her own terms: complex, profoundly humanistic, engaged in topics related to human rights, humoristic and lacking in any sort of arrogance. Ehmann and Farocki's work in the nineties and aughts finds very clear samples of ideology encrypted into images in an era where ideology was hidden and unapparent under the veil of technocracy—in an approach that is syncretic, where images are not subject to value-based hierarchies. Melding utilitarian images and corporate imagery with shots from fiction feature films or documentary footage, theirs is a vast palette of moving and static images that are perpetually treated with a curious and circumspect eye.
We attended the opening of Reality Would Have to Begin at the beginning of October and sat down with Ms. Ehmann for a long discussion about the praxis of Farocki and their ways of collaborating, touching upon his work’s legacy in contemporary experimental filmmaking, on her work as the custodian of his estate, and the state of modern cinephilia.

NOTEBOOK: What I noticed as I was going through the exhibition, is that it's clear that one of the main themes explored in this specific exhibition is the way Harun Farocki looked at concepts such as war and violence, as well as their systematic forms and aftereffects. I find it fascinating that in every single exhibition of his I see, any particular curatorship of his work in terms of topicality, I realize there are so many layers to his work and that you can always discover a new angle to approach it. But coming specifically to this exhibition, I know that you worked with Diana Marincu on the curatorship and concept. Why did you approach these topics, in the case of this exhibition?
ANTJE EHMANN: I think that it's quite interesting to have some common threads in an exhibition. We tried to both have a kind of introduction, because it's the first exhibition of Harun's works here, in Timișoara, but then also to find your way through them by having a kind of red thread, content-wise. But it's still very diverse because you have various installations: one has five monitors, another is a double projection, some are single films. I think it's a nice approach because it allows the audience to have both an introduction (especially with Interface), but this was pretty much done by Diana. She discussed every step with me, but in terms of this specific selection, I just saw that it made sense and agreed.
NOTEBOOK: Even in his final works—for example, Parallel I-IV—Farocki was still very much preoccupied with systems of violence and about the representation and reenactment of violence, in the cinematic and videographic mediums. Now, after this very confusing decade, with both real wars and proxy wars, how can we try to approach contemporary wars through his prism?
EHMANN: I mean, what Harun did is to approach it by analyzing the kind of imagery that comes to us, because this is the way we perceive wars, not only via correspondence or live transmissions from theaters of war but mostly it's about what kind of images they deliver to us. And I think this changed dramatically, let's say, in the last 20 years. Like when Harun examined the bombs that have cameras attached to them [in Images of the World] and produce a live transmission of them falling and exploding. He explored this weird imagery that was very new during the Gulf Wars, which was when they came up. And now, as you mentioned, in Parallel, there's also the virtual image, the computer-generated animation image, and then you have Serious Games, for example, where they use a certain kind of imagery to prepare soldiers for warfare and then images they use as therapy for traumatized veterans. There's always a medium in between reality and the ones who end up being a part of the war, but then, we are also totally part of the war, because it's transmitted to us, with our connectivity and internet and all of this... So I think it's quite helpful to see it like this because this is what the whole world shares. Of course, you can try to talk to soldiers about their firsthand experience that doesn't involve so much technology. But of course, they are also part of the technological system of war.
So I think that this is also a quite attractive element to this exhibition, seeing as you have these different layers: there is the topic of war, but also, you always have the topic of the image, or various image regimes that are about what they do, to violence, to war tropes - to how war is represented or narrated in films. So you have so many different ways to go approach the topic.
NOTEBOOK: What I find absolutely fascinating and beautiful about Interface, beyond this sort of historical fascination about seeing the artist at work, which he operates with consciously, is that he’s being reactive to his own work and to his own growth, adding meaning onto it. And I think that there is a lesson to be learned there.
EHMANN: What I also find interesting is how he deals with periods of time, this repetitive thing that he does, like the fact of repeating the monologue that opens Inextinguishable Fire. It is a kind of activation, he's asking himself—"What did I do there 30 years ago?" And not just looking at it, but incorporating it somehow, and therefore making it alive again. There's a kind of seriousness in this work that I really like. It's not, "Oh, let's see, what have I done the last 20 years?" It's almost a bit exciting. So, how can I do this in a productive, interesting way? I mean, this gesture [motions the cigarette burn in Inextinguishable Fire] is by now so used up, almost. Whenever there is something about Harun, there is always this gesture. He wanted to get rid of all of this and really find his way in approaching his own work, to extract it out of history and relate to it. It's beautiful. And then of course, it's the first commissioned work he did for an art space. And then this also a quasi-biographical thing, that he looks back to his film practice.
NOTEBOOK: Seeing this exhibition in Timisoara was a very good introduction to who Farocki was as an artist, I would like to ask you about his imprint on contemporary experimental cinema. For me, it's clear that not only his methods and praxis with image, but also many of his recurrent themes, especially those regarding violence and labor, have permeated the discourse of contemporary experimental cinema. How do you see this legacy and the way that his work is being transmitted in contemporary cinema?
EHMANN: I think that the interesting thing about Harun's oeuvre is that it covers several decades, and it went through several shifts and changes, but at the same time, he followed the same topics across different formats and forms. And I think this is, of course, already kind of an experimental approach too, because there's always also this question—how is it done? And he has a lot of short films, which is also close to experimental cinema, and the whole start of his career were agit-prop films. Which was also war-related, of course—without the anti-Vietnam movement, one couldn't understand his work; this is where it all comes from, so to say.
Then, I wonder when you're asking this, what notion of experimental is here at stake? Like, could it be that young experimental filmmakers, what do they take from Harun... is it the form, is it the content, is it the form, is it also the documentary, which is not so experimental? I would say Harun's work is highly documentary to a greater degree than it is experimental, even though there are always experimental elements there. So, yeah, it's an interesting question.
NOTEBOOK: For example, seeing the films that were in Rotterdam this year, one can notice that there is such a big movement happening right now around found footage cinema. And it's very, very diverse, and it's also sort of backed up by these young filmmakers rediscovering their personal archives. It's a varied movement, and I think that Harun Farocki is very relevant to this resurgence.
EHMANN: Also—he gave examples on how to do it, or rather, how you can do it, like how to treat found footage imagery. That because - maybe it sounds a bit strange, but there's also kind of a moral, ethical dimension to it. If you take Respite, for example, it uses material that an inmate of a concentration camp, a Jew, was commissioned to shoot. And so you have this strange thing - that a victim of the system delivers imagery that should prove how great this camp was. And so this is so strange. Like, what kind of image is this, that what we have obtained through the lens of this victim? And then, the decision that Harun took because the material was silent, was to keep it silent. There are no words, and like in the times of silent movies, he used intertitles to explain. For me, this is an ethical decision: one should contextualize the material they find and then find out what is the best way to present it, which is also in relation to the one who shot it. In the case of Respite, in the end, he died, of course—the Nazis murdered him too.
And this might be so, nowadays—images are so available that there is a danger that you just play around with them, you mix them, put some music and cut and... it's a little bit of a loss in intensity. And I think if you look at Harun's work, he brings back a kind of seriousness. He brings back the depths of the image and doesn't focus so much on the surface. Maybe it's just speculation, or what I associate.
NOTEBOOK: There's also a new concept that is sort of floating around—cinematic ecology. The Viennale’s description of their retrospective this year is Recycled Cinema, for example. There is this interesting tendency, as you said, that we are completely swamped by moving images right now. Moving images seem to have lost their "privileged" status as a very rare kind of image that you had access to in very special and specific places. Now they're everywhere. Regarding Harun Farocki's praxis, how can we filter this complete bombardment of moving images that's happening right now? A bombardment that is also due, in part, to the fact that now, all of us can create these images.
EHMANN: Also with our phones, we are using them all the time and circulating these images, posting them, and Instagramming them. And it's also addictive. We don't know what it does to kids. I don't want to be so pessimistic, but one generation back, it was unthinkable. The hours they spend with these images—sometimes you can see it on your phone, how long it was active during the day. And sometimes it's 15 hours. So yeah, you could also contextualize these works with this, and how it relates to it. Especially, of course, with Parallel, because it's computer game imagery, but treats computer game imagery as if it's art history, which is a funny thing.
NOTEBOOK: And it also has this very elemental part—water, fire, earth. Practically, he was working with De Saussure's schematics of sign, signifier and signified, which was brilliant. On the topic of theoreticians, Foucault was also a gigantic influence—you can see it in many of the works that are exhibited here, especially in regards to the concept of panopticon, which he uses—especially in Images of the World. He was, in some sense, a prophet of our current situation—which was also reflected in his analyses of corporate images and advertising. He had an intuition of what about to happen. Did he feel that things were going in this direction?
EHMANN: You know, Harun was more of an optimistic kind of guy, so he was not so much into thinking that everything would be bad, he had a productive way to deal with reality. It's not helpful to be caught in a state of fear and panic, so this would not be his kind of discourse, but, of course, he saw terrible things going on. Like the imagery that gets more and more stupid across the entire history of television. The quality of German television went so bankrupt that in the end they even told him: "You shouldn't show up anymore because your films are too complicated for television nowadays," which is full of game shows and cooking shows.
And so, it's more a question of how to address images, how to bring order in them, how machines recognize images—different operational images in different contexts. Finally, what's, what's the function of images? What do they do? And how do we perceive them, with our eyes or machines? So this was his approach. Also this video game imagery. He kind of distanced himself from them, as if they come from another planet - like what is this? And this is interesting. So, not thinking that you know something - because no, you don't know anything.  And only then you'll have the chance to see something in these images.
And then he was also very interested in the question of archives, image archives, and how to select images from them. We also did an examination of the topoi across film history, mostly - like the gates of factories or factories themselves, or hands—like in The Expression of Hands (1997). Here, in this exhibition, we have a work about the topoi of war films. So it's this kind of systematic approach that is at the same time essayistic, but not like in university—it's not academically secure. In the case of his essay films, it's also subjective: he has a commentary with his voice over. Nevertheless, there is also a system to it. Universities like to teach how to deal was this idea—could we have a lexicon that is not written with words, but rather a lexicon of images and image families? This is the whole idea. And I think that he would have continued to work to this day. Like always, trying to find a systematic but also essayistic, still more or less poetic way to approach images.
NOTEBOOK: Coming back to the exhibition, what I found really important is that your role as a collaborator of Harun Farocki is put to the forefront, which is unfortunately under-discussed in the very machoistic film industry. How do you feel about this? How would you comment on the fact that there are so many people that neglect to mention these things, but also that you did indeed have a few spaces where you could be seen as an autonomous artist and partner in work, not just in life? There is a paradoxical combination between objectification and also neglect that unfortunately takes place in situations such as yours.
EHMANN: Yeah. It's a big story. And it's also a sad story. I mean, women were constantly and consequently written out of history. It's like they just disappear and they are not credited. And even when they very clearly were there and they worked together with men, in the end, it's always the man's name that survives, which is really... and it's still not over. It's really... it's amazing. And in my case, of course, I had to deal with this problem all the time. Like I'm the younger one, the female. Harun was already a name when we came together, even though he was not as famous as he was towards the end, which, by the way, is also strange because it was during his time with me that he got successful! [laughs]. This is what some other people say, of course, so this is not me, I'm quoting other people. [laughs]
But of course, it was also our shift to the art world, and this combination of me working as a curator and him as a director, and then we did some things together. It just worked out so well. And of course, once in a while, we made a video installation together and 90% was based on my input. So if I had signed the work, nobody knows who I am. If we both sign it, nobody knows that 90% of the work was from me. But then—this happened in Germany somewhere, there was a big opening. And so, the director of the museum, who was also the curator, gave a speech and constantly referred to this work, that was done by the both of us, as "Harun Farocki's masterpiece, Harun Farocki's masterpiece". [laughs] And she doesn't even say that it was made by both of us. I was so shocked! And I thought I was used to that kind of thing, but that was really too much. That was just an example. You can imagine things like this happen all the time.
So, now that I'm done complaining [laughs], it's of course wonderful to work with a curator such as Diana, who's completely aware of this and she tried to balance it.
NOTEBOOK: Since you mentioned television earlier, Farocki had a pretty long stint working for television in the eighties after the decline of the Filmkritik magazine, which he left very shortly before it went down. And Farocki was doing this sort of audiovisual film criticism for television and that was where he found his financial security, doing shows about cinema for television. He would invite everyone from philosophers to filmmakers. For example, he had this episode where he conducted an extremely interesting interview with Bresson, right after he had directed L'Argent. But in the nineties, he suddenly discovered that he could not work there anymore. And that was the moment where he turned to galleries. How was this paradigmatic change and how did it happen? How did it affect his process? Someone who came from the same period would be Chantal Akerman, who faced some very similar issues and found similar solutions—as was the case with D'Est.
EHMANN: I would add one thing on the topic of television, especially in Germany. Only two or three people working for television back then who were completely cineastes. And so they tried to bring Bresson, or films that were even difficult for cinemas, to television. And these guys—mainly Werner Dütsch, who was working at the WDR (West-German State Television) in Cologne—gave a kind of carte blanche to these amazing filmmakers who wanted to do cinema, but who couldn't find the money for it. He gave them money and their works would be broadcast at 10 p.m. It was quite a luxurious phase for them. For example, Dütsch gave money to James Benning,  to Hartmut Bitmoski, to Harun. There was a group of maybe ten filmmakers that survived just because of this constellation. And when he and one other colleague of his retired, it was over. It was a special situation. The art world was not a decision. It was not that he sat there and thought, "Okay, now let's become an artist and go into the art world." It was really like, the opportunity came up—he and I were invited and then one thing came after another. And in the end, it was so successful that it was amazing, being part of Documenta 12 (2007, Kassel) and the Venice Biennale (2015) and so on.
But I would say that Harun never left the dispositif of cinema. Even in the exhibition spaces his conception of the image is still influenced by cinema. It's difficult to describe, but this is maybe the difference for the many, many people who now make video art. They don't have this background. Most of them don't come from cinema, like, for example, Pedro Costa, James Benning, or Chantal Akerman. So really, cinema people. And so, the works, if you compare them—they look different, because it's a different background, of course. And you can't forget your background. You don't become another person overnight, just because you now produce works for museums.
NOTEBOOK: Coming to the topic of archives. You are the custodian of the estate of Harun Farocki. What does that mean, practically and pragmatically? What are your responsibilities, especially considering the nature of work today and his ethics?
EHMANN: It's a lot of work! [laughs] Almost impossible. The good thing is that Harun and I, we worked together for almost twenty years, so I'm not so much dealing with it from the outside. And then, my profession is not something else. I'm not, like, an architect who suddenly has to deal with film. It was the same situation with Harun, together, only that he was alive. We had to deal with everything and found our ways, what we liked, what we didn't like, what we would allow. So it was kind of an organic thing. Only then there’s the terrible situation, suddenly, when you're on your own and you don't do it together anymore. And then of course, also, because I'm a curator, it's different. And I have to say that many people also like that, of course, because there are also some really terrible widows out there who you don't want to deal with! [laughs]
But in my case, I'm not coming to things so much from the outside. I don't only look at the financial aspects. I care about the work, that it's alive and adequately presented. And that's what I do. There is also, of course, The Farocki Institute. But the institute doesn't have rights over the films, so they don't have anything to do with the distribution of the work.
NOTEBOOK: That was my following question. How do the two— the estate and the Institute—work together? They have somewhat different functions, they're not a whole.
EHMANN: We work very closely, but they have their autonomy. So for example, I don't want them to ask me all the time, shall we do this or that, or what do I think? Of course, they ask a lot of times, but we get along so well and it’s not like, do you allow this or that? So, they can do whatever they want. They concentrate on everything that is not a finished film—that is my part, the films and installations that are already finished.
We have this kind of archive, which is just stuff that there wasn't room for in our house [laughs], stuff Harun didn't want to throw away, which we stored in a different place. So there must be a certain kind of value because he didn't throw them away, but he also didn't want to have it in our house. That means it's rather something that you simply keep—and so this leads to the notion that this is archival material.
And it's quite nice what the people at the Institute do with it. They open boxes and it's all chaotic inside [laughs]. Part of it is sacks of garbage with stuff in it.  And then you open the garbage sacks or the boxes and find wonderful things. For example, Harun made this film with Peter Weiss—and sometimes the proportion between how much he shot for a film and what ended up in the finished film is quite amazing—and they found film rolls with material from the shooting, which is a valuable historical document. It mostly contains interviews, but parts of it are also shot a little bit in Peter Weiss' studio.
So they take this material, they find some money to restore or digitalize it, and then they make a nice publication on the occasion of the launch, based on some really good research on the material. And then they ask me to find the letters they wrote—Peter and Harun. So they look for that material, what you have, which is really nice because the films are there, this is something they bring to life.
NOTEBOOK: I'd like to delve into the question of cinephilia. There is an overt cinephile approach in your and Farocki's work, which is clearly informed, on one hand, by a very Cahiers du cinema-style, a canonical understanding of cinema, which is then subverted and deconstructed, pulled apart to its smallest layers. This past summer, Olivier Assayas was talking to Sabzian about this deep, deep crisis of contemporary cinephilia. So aside from the fact that there has been no major field-unifying theory in the past 30 to 40 years, if we take Gilles Deleuze as the last great thinker on cinema, the big problem right now is that cinema is becoming increasingly isolated into itself.
EHMANN: I think Raymond Bellour is also one of the last great theoreticians, but he's also 80 years old now. And he is coming more from a field of philosophy that is interested in the image, but it's not cinephilia, I would say. They don't ignore film, which was mostly the case all the time in philosophy. And then there's David Rodowick. He also tries to reveal what it is that images want from us, and tries to really make a philosophy of cinephilia. But of course, I totally agree that these are exceptions.
NOTEBOOK: And it's fields like phenomenology or cognitivism that are providing the most interesting theoretical insights on cinema nowadays. But in film theory, in and of itself, things are very dry, sterile, it's just endlessly self-reproducing. How do you think we could restore a more living approach to cinema and cinephilia? Your work is a sample of a very active kind of cinephilia, rather than a passive one, onto which this form of knowledge is simply imprinted onto you. It's reactive.
EHMANN: Yeah. I mean, it goes a little bit in the direction of what Kevin B. Lee does, right? Working yourself through these images, cinephile images or images from the canonical cinema, or sometimes even B-movies, but these do have to have a little standard to them. While working with Harun on War Tropes I did the main research, watching many absurd war films. And then I was always so happy, because we had these six topics that we were focusing on and I would constantly discover them, like for example, soldiers looking at a photo of their wives at home, kind of these mini moments that are in every war film. You'll get into this kind of adventurous mood while researching, you want to find more and more, in order to be able to edit it nicely. And then I also chose some really, really bad films for us to watch [laughs]—Harun was constantly saying things like "What! This is filmed in such an ugly way!" or "My, god, this actor, look at how horribly he's acting!" So yeah, Harun accepted so-called bad footage only if it was really, totally crazy.
This was an interesting experience, to observe the way Harun looked at images and sequences and his criticism— this is pure cinephilia, what he did, and he was always very focused on all of the elements in an image, even the lighting - he always looked at everything, but sometimes he couldn't care less what the film was about. [laughs] Sometimes I watched films with him and he didn't follow the plot. Afterwards he would ask things like "So what was it with this other woman that appears?" [laughs] But this also has something to do with passion. It's like, if this goes away, cinephilia as a passion and a practice, meaning going like crazy to the cinemas and watching an entire Mizoguchi retrospective... I mean, cinemas are dying. So, where do you go? And if you don't have the means to specifically go to your favorite festivals and be there one week to see the retrospectives... It's becoming more and more difficult.
And then we are also surrounded by all these flat images, our monitors and televisions, cell phones and laptops. Of course, cinephilia as a practice is dying. But I also miss going to the cinema on a regular basis—now, since the pandemic, I only saw one film in a cinema, and that was Petzold's new film, Undine, I couldn't miss it. But, um... I think this is also available with theory, I guess. It's like, if people don't have this practice anymore, what are they, the theoreticians, even talking about?
NOTEBOOK: Coming back to contemporary experimental cinema... There's also this sort of strange trend happening right now, that looks very beautiful, but it's actually very empty, if you ask me. There's all of these experimental films screening everywhere from Toronto Wavelengths to Rotterdam, these films shot on Super-8. They have this sort of home movie aesthetic, often no sound, abundant in landscape shots. I'm looking at these films and seeing them being massively curated in big festivals.. And they look very beautiful. I feel nice while I'm watching them. But I feel that it's empty asceticism and that it's actually very revisionistic, in a sense.
EHMANN: Yeah. And it's a kind of wrong nostalgia. I don't have anything against the people that shoot on Super-8, but the question is, if you go back to an old medium, and you look at film history and look at what was done with it, you should not repeat something that was the current thing in 1970 or else it ends up being ridiculous. Yes, you can use the camera in order to make a visual poem. Great. Okay. But why do you do that? I also don't really understand - you could use any other means to make visual poems. If it's Super-8, I would really find what is the necessary element of it, what you can only do with Super-8, and what is not just a repetition. Super-8 was so liberating in the days when it appeared, and also very female - many female filmmakers, Maya Deren, used it because it was the only medium that was available to them, but today it's not liberating anymore. It's even a problem, because it's so outdated and search for labs or develop the film yourself.
NOTEBOOK: And other than that, what I also find very strange in this movement is that usually... there's no... humans in these films, which is kind of disquieting.
EHMANN: It's maybe also a difference to the old days. Super-8 films used to have a lot of humans, a lot of naked humans, especially. [laughs] That's an interesting observation. That goes more into the direction of atmospheric, poetic imagery. A lot of flowers in these films, I guess. I'm sure the directors who shoot them are nice people, sensitive people. And you cannot say to them not to do it, of course. [laughs] And this is nostalgia. You also have these artists who work a lot with 16mm installations. And they show the whole apparatus, these gigantic machines that are showing a live 16mm screening, like Rosa Barba. She's one of the better ones, but there's always some element of going back to something that's almost out of history, or in the process of disappearing. It's something mystical, but politically, it's dead. It has no political dimension, if you ask me.
NOTEBOOK: As a closing thought—when I think about the title of the exhibition, Reality Would Have To Begin and how in our society the beginning seems further and further away, what would you say the field looks like, right now, and what are your predictions? On the one hand, there's people complaining about festival-fare cinema being too "progressive" and "political," on the other, there's this gigantic flow of uncritical images that are going to wash every single thing away while we're out here having our small fights. Does resistance in cinema still stand a chance? Is it even still possible?
EHMANN: It's a difficult question. I'm not so comfortable making predictions in general. For me, it's very difficult to give an estimation there because I also see that it's a long way, and there's a lot of things we have to undo and relearn. And there's this explosion of technology. I think a solution would be we, the ones who see this and know about other ways of producing films or art or whatever, if there are enough of us, we should just continue. We shouldn't be afraid or contemplate stopping, because until now, at least in my life, I've always found ways to connect and build networks.
And this is what the Institute does. This is what I do with exhibitions, or with Labor in a Single Shot. It's not giving up. And so then you don't need to predict where things are going to go. I mean, it's more important to continue and to find allies. And, yeah, not to collapse in this difficult system. And in different political contexts right now, like, for example, in America, I guess it's very hard to keep the spirit alive. Let's see what happens with Biden and Trump, and all of this. But... I don't see the end of the world for cinema, not yet.


Antje EhmannLong ReadsHarun FarockiInterviews
Please sign up to add a new comment.


Notebook is a daily, international film publication. Our mission is to guide film lovers searching, lost or adrift in an overwhelming sea of content. We offer text, images, sounds and video as critical maps, passways and illuminations to the worlds of contemporary and classic film. Notebook is a MUBI publication.


If you're interested in contributing to Notebook, please see our pitching guidelines. For all other inquiries, contact the editorial team.