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Germany Dissected: A Focus on Christoph Schlingensief

MUBI Special

Christoph Schlingensief is without question a filmmaker whose nationality resides at the heart of his reflections on cinema–his country is his subject of study, his source for experiment and the object of his passionate contempt. Renown for his ultra-provocative experimental films, for which he developed his own singular trashy, kitsch aesthetics, he became an artistic figure as a post-war filmmaker critical of his country’s amnesia towards its Nazi past, as well as its xenophobic current politics. A heir to Fassbinder, whose actors he casted in his own films, and who he salutes in The 120 Days of Bottrop, and, anecdotally, a fervent detractor of Wim Wenders during his lifetime, his films were created to shake bourgeois norms and society’s inertia in an attempt to scrutinize German identity and represent it as a perverse nation full of freakish, racist individuals. By revisiting four of his films (two of which are part of his German trilogy!), we are happy to present a filmmaker who incessantly analyzed his country’s culture, people, and history to better illustrate its twisted national essence.

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Christoph Schlingensief West Germany, 1986

The last film in our focus on Christoph Schlingensief is a grainy black-and-white nightmare, with a tone and texture reminiscent of early talkies. A spiteful and wacky representation of the lingering influence of Nazism in a fictional Germany filled with freakish sickos.

100 Years of Adolf Hitler

Christoph Schlingensief West Germany, 1989

We continue our focus on the notorious multidisciplinary German artist Christoph Schlingensief with his (literally) underground film, the first part of his German trilogy. Shot over 16 hours in the darkness of a real World War II bunker with only a flashlight to illuminate the insanity.

Terror 2000

Christoph Schlingensief Germany, 1992

Christoph Schlingensief’s contempt for German identity and his nation’s tendency to disregard the past is provocatively emphasized in Terror 2000, the third part of his German trilogy–a trashy, over-the-top farce filled with Nazi debauchery and repulsive perversions. Sensitive souls, beware!

The 120 Days of Bottrop

Christoph Schlingensief Germany, 1997

We open our focus on ultra-provocative filmmaker Christoph Schlingensief with his uncompromising tribute to Rainer Werner Fassbinder! A slap in the face of the German film industry, filled with references to cinema and German history, it is a deliciously provocative, farcical spectacle.

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