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A Vision of Resistance

MUBI Special

“I believe more and more that Nestler has been the most important filmmaker in Germany since the war” —Jean-Marie Straub

We continue our partnership with New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center to showcase highlights from their summer program A Vision of Resistance: Peter Nestler. Admired by the likes of Jean-Marie Straub and Harun Farocki, Peter Nestler was one of the most important filmmakers to emerge from postwar Germany. From his early films about the changing realities of rural and industrial areas in Germany and the UK, to his work for Swedish television, Nestler has remained a precise observer of the poetry and politics of labor, crafting meticulous portraits of industrial processes, working conditions, and workers themselves, as well as the background of struggle and oppression against which the era’s proletariat toiled. A vigorous yet nuanced opponent of fascism, an excavator of lost histories and a masterful formalist whose works are rich with a materiality all their own, Nestler has spent five decades chronicling how things get made, whether in a factory or at the level of ideology.

MUBI is showing five documentary shorts from the director’s time making poignant and provocative films in Germany in the 1960s, and concludes with his recent and highly personal documentary, Death and Devil.

Death and Devil

Peter Nestler Germany, 2009


We jump across documentarian Peter Nestler’s career to his most recent feature. Now working in Sweden, Nestler’s acute analysis turns inward to look at his own family history. A stunning saga of wealth, science, and imperialism, his story makes a personal, cutting progression towards German fascism.

Rhine River

Peter Nestler West Germany, 1965


On the legendary river Rhine, the labor of boatmen and the industrial shore are watched over by tourists. At once a poet, anthropologist and historian, Peter Nestler matter of factly captures the confluence of labor and leisure at one of the great arteries of Germany’s national identity.

From Greece

Peter Nestler West Germany, 1965


Peter Nestler’s films made in Germany were all poignantly unconventional—formally adventurous, politically bold. But it was this prescient look at wartime resistance and post-war leftist politics in Greece on the cusp of dictatorship that effectively blacklisted the filmmaker. Essential viewing.

Mülheim (Ruhr)

Peter Nestler, Reinald Schnell West Germany, 1964


The third film in our exclusive and rare glimpse at portraits by the great documentarian Peter Nestler heads to the city, and specifically Müllheim in the industry-heavy Ruhr region. In Nestler’s hands, the city becomes an emblem of a post-war country struggling between its past and its future.


Peter Nestler West Germany, 1963


Peter Nestler’s second film like his first gives potent voice to the voiceless: Swiss children give us their impressions of their daily lives as we see images of Nestler’s own perspective. Beautiful and deceptively simple, these essays create the sense of a new generation beginning to define itself.

By the Dike Sluice

Peter Nestler West Germany, 1962


We continue our partnership with New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center to showcase their series on the unknown but essential documentarian Peter Nestler. Short but dense, his first film exhibits his utterly imperative technique: portraiture equal parts hard-edged poetry and political incision.

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