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The Film Department of the Literary Colloquium Berlin

June 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Literary Colloquium Berlin (LCB) and with it the project of a film department at the LCB. From the very beginning, this was not simply about film adaptations of literature or the cinematic examination of textual models, but about exploring the possibilities of film in narration, image design and language; it was, entirely in the sense of Walter Höllerer's expanded concept of literature, about "optical literature".

To mark this anniversary, numerous films from the LCB have been digitally restored by the Deutsche Kinemathek, which are now being shown as part of the retrospective curated by Frederik Lang, Optical Literature. The Film Department of the Literary Colloquium Berlin and the anniversary festival Assemblage Berlin. 60 Years of Literature intermedial, a collaborative project of the Cluster of Excellence Temporal Communities. Doing Literature in a Global Perspective at Freie Universität Berlin and the Literary Colloquium Berlin.

One reason for the founding of the film department at the LCB was the crisis of West German film in the early 1960s. Parts of the film world expected a renewal of German film to come from the signatories of the Oberhausen Manifesto. Instead, the LCB set out with two short films that were promptly celebrated in Oberhausen in 1965 and proved to be groundbreaking: In-Side-Out was the film debut of American beat poet George Moorse, a wildly colorful pop poem, and Abends, wenn der Mond scheint ... a satirical "picture book" (Michael Töteberg) almost without words, jointly realized by writer Peter Rühmkorf and animated filmmaker Helmut Herbst.

Until the mid-1990s, very different films with and without literary references were made at the LCB; some for the cinema, some for television. The spectrum ranged from Moorse's zeitgeist-visionary Büchner adaptation Lenz (1971) to the anarchistic Berlin film Denkmalsforschung (1972) by Wolfgang Ramsbott and the writer Günter Bruno Fuchs; from the visual extravagance of Kuckucksjahre (1967) to the participatory documentary Von wegen 'Schicksal' (1979) by Helga Reidemeister; from Helma Sanders-Brahms' global success Deutschland bleiche Mutter (1980) to the rarely shown 'Heimatfilm' Niemanns Zeit (1985).
Additional information
Further events in the series Optical Literature. The Film Section of the Literary Colloquium Berlin will take place at the Bundesplatzkino and the LCB. In the series Filmblatt-Schriften by CineGraph Babelsberg e.V., the accompanying publication Optische Literatur. The Film Department of the Literary Colloquium Berlin.

Detailed information about the film series can be found on the homepage.