Volker Pantenburg (Freie Universität Berlin)
FILMKRITIK, 1975 to 1984: A Partisan Film Journal Between Cinema and Television
The monthly journal Filmkritik, founded in 1957 by Wilfried Berghahn, Enno Patalas and others and later co-edited by such figures as Hartmut Bitomsky, Harun Farocki and Peter Nau, initially took its cue from the Frankfurt School. In the following 15 years, it became a film cultural platform for heated debates not only about individual films, but about the nature and conditions of film writing itself. Authors like Frieda Grafe, Enno Patalas, Herbert Linder, and Helmut Färber developed individual modes of writing that were based on the premise that film criticism cannot mean writing about film but needs to invent forms genuinely forged out of the encounter with a given film.
In my lecture, I would like to focus on the final years of Filmkritik, a period when the editorial group developed inspiring strategies to transcend the format of the printed monthly to navigate between the practices of filmmaking, writing, and subversive activism. Asked how Filmkritik functioned, former author and editor Hanns Zischler recently replied: “It didn’t.” I would like to know more about the productive aspects of this dysfunctionality, the virtues of refusal and uselessness, of polemical non-integration and partisanship that shaped the final years of the journal.
Volker Pantenburg is Professor for Film Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. He has published widely on essayistic film and video practices, experimental cinema, and contemporary moving image installations. Recent book publications include Farocki/Godard. Film as Theory (Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP 2015), Cinematographic Objects. Things and Operations (Berlin: August 2015, Editor) and Screen Dynamics. Mapping the Borders of Cinema (Vienna: Austrian Film Museum 2012; Co-Editor). In 2015, he co-founded the “Harun Farocki Institut,” a non-profit organisation designed as a platform for researching Farocki’s visual and discursive practice and supporting new projects that engage with the past, present and the future of image cultures.