“Seeing a Fassbinder retrospective is better than drugs, liquor and sex put together. If he was alive today, I’d fall to my knees in front of him. Dead? Well, we have to pray to somebody, don’t we?”
A fearless artist who knew no taboos, Fassbinder combined scathing social criticism with profound psychological insight. After failing to get into film school he turned instead to the theatre, rapidly winning renown as a radical, innovative writer-director. With ferocious energy, though minimal resources, he started to make films, building a loyal team of actors and technicians drawn from the theatre (his first 10 features were made in less than two years). An insatiable film addict from early childhood, Fassbinder drew inspiration from the French New Wave and, later, from the Hollywood melodramas of Douglas Sirk and others. But what emerged from his dazzling fusion of style and content was a powerful, personal vision of people imprisoned by social constraints and their own contradictory desires. Provocative, poignant, darkly witty: these are films that could change your life.
Part two of this survey shows post-war Germany’s most provocative filmmaker at the height of his powers. Fassbinder always dreamed of creating his own brand of ‘German Hollywood film’, and with The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978), he finally managed to combine huge popular appeal with a complex, uncompromising vision of reality. This was the first of three superbly crafted chronicles of the 1950s (the others were Lola and Veronika Voss) – antidotes to the prevailing historical amnesia. By exploring the past, Fassbinder aimed to shed light on Germany’s troubled present; in other works, he engaged directly with the political turmoil and terrorism of the 1970s. ‘The secret of our success is that we’re making honest films,’ he once said, but his fierce integrity made him a target of vicious abuse. Neither a polemicist nor an ideologue (he dubbed himself a ‘romantic anarchist’), Fassbinder remains an extraordinary artist whose passion for truth-telling is now more important than ever.
The Belfast Film Festival began in 1995 as part of Féile An Phobail and has developed hand in hand with the evolving culture of film patronage and filmmaking in the city.
We believe that film should be an experience, and so, as well as presenting the best in new, short and classic cinema in our spring and summer festivals, we’ve set ourselves apart by having site-specific screenings.
For us, site-specific cinema means hosting the classics of the silver screen in surroundings that enhance and intensify your experience of our films. To prove we’re serious, we’ve screened Evil Dead in the Ormeau Park, Cool Hand Luke in the Crumlin Road Gaol, The Breakfast Club in Christchurch Library, Odd Man Out at The Albert Clock, 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Titanic Dry Dock and Jaws in the Bangor Aurora swimming pool.
What’s more, we pride ourselves on experimenting with media in all its forms, that’s why we’ve presented cinematic collaborations, like our showing of La Traviata in the beautiful St Anne’s Cathedral, with an accompaniment by NI Opera’s Young Artists’ programme, or the horror masterpiece Suspiria at the Waterfront with live soundtrack by Italian rock band Goblin, to name but a few.
To celebrate quality cinema, we have also established a documentary film competition in The Maysles Brothers Award. This was launched in 2006 by the legend Albert Maysles himself, and recognises the best of new observational documentary work from around the world.
Then there’s our short film competition, this provides a platform for fledgling filmmakers from across the island of Ireland to showcase their work and for the winner, to be shown the prize money.
Due to our love of film, we are also heavily involved in promoting film education and nurturing practical filmmaking skills throughout the North. That’s why we are currently working on a programme of community outreach projects that we hope will galvanise people’s accessibility to, and awareness and enjoyment of film culture in hard to reach and underprivileged areas. We will be working with community groups to offer writing and filmmaking workshops, industry discussion panels, special screenings and master classes.
So, inspired by Berlin Porn Film Festival, some of us involved in Wotever World got together and created London Porn Film Festival. Over the years we always sold out the porn screenings at Wotever DIY Film Festival, and we did about Five very successful Queer Experiments with Queer Porno as a theme, and the latest one was held at Horse Hospital, and they wanted to do more like it as did we, So, time is right, Let’s do this!
The London Porn Film Festival is a new space for people who want to celebrate their sexuality on screen. We welcome filmmakers of every kind, who are exploring sex in all its incarnations. As queer organisers actively challenging narrow definitions of porn, we take our inspiration from the Berlin Porn Film Festival, which has fostered a dynamic space for sex workers, porn performers, porn producers and other creatives to challenge and explore our understanding and enjoyment of sex. And, after several years of sell-out porn screenings at the Wotever DIY Film Festival, the time is right for London to have its own festival and to maintain a strong resistance against the insidious conservative agenda that polices some bodies (and not others) and enforces a sterile, unreflective and often misogynistic notion of what constitutes healthy relationships, love and fucking.
We value porn as an art form that is able to question and challenge the power structures that limit our sexual expression. Radical queer porn has not settled as an art form – it straddles the borders of visual art, performance art, erotica, political activism and many other genres – making it a unique vehicle for presenting new and radical ideas of sexuality. Beyond that, it can influence and re-shape our notions of politics and society. London Porn Film Festival exists as a place to re-learn our notion of porn; to explore, re-imagine, embrace and re-consider the boundaries of filmmaking itself – where sex and filmmaking meet without borders.
We endorse a festival that is wilder, bigger, better (wetter!) and more creative. The time is right – let’s do this!
2018: neo-fascism has taken over. The government implements a program to chip the population of the UK. Eloise, a documentary film-maker, suspects she is being brainwashed by a secret government organisation.
A dark, ominous, atmospheric and disturbing political thriller, taking influence from the work of Peter Watkins & Derek Jarman.
The film will be followed by a Q&A with members of the cast and crew and very special guests (TBC).