Figures of Absence: The Films of Dore O.

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Presented by TIFF Cinematheque, Goethe-Institut & AD HOC

with curator Masha Matzke  

On the occasion of the publication of Figures of Absence. The Films of Dore O. Women’s Experimental Cinema (StrzeleckiBooks; ed. Masha Matzke), the first monograph focusing on the film practice of artist Dore O., a three-day event series honours the work and legacy of one of Germany’s most prolific and internationally renowned yet overlooked experimental filmmakers. The program offers the rare chance to see the Toronto premiere of recently restored films by Dore O., many of which haven’t been accessible for a long time. They will be introduced by Berlin-based film restorer and researcher Masha Matzke and accompanied by a conversation with contributing Canadian authors Stephen Broomer and Mike Hoolboom at the Goethe-Institut book launch.

9 October 2023, 7pm, Innis Town Hall:
AD HOC Film Screening 
Introduction by Stephen Broomer & Masha Matzke
KALDALON (1971, 45 min, 16mm-to-DCP)
BLONDE BARBAREI (1972, 25 min, 16mm-to-DCP)
XOANON (1994, 11 min, 16mm)

11 October 2023, 7pm, TIFF Cinematheque:
TIFF Wavelength presents: The Films of Dore O.
Introduction and Q&A with Masha Matzke
JÜM-JÜM (1967, 9 min, 16mm-to-DCP. Co-directed by Werner Nekes.)
ALASKA (1968, 18 min, 16mm-to-DCP)
LAWALE (1969, 29 min, 16mm-to-DCP)
KASKARA (1974, 21 min, 16mm-to-DCP)
STERN DES MÉLIÈS (1982, 11 min, 16mm)

10 October 2023, 12.30pm:
Retracing the Films of Dore O. and Women’s/German Experimental Cinema
Book Lunch – free! at Goethe-Institut Toronto
100 University, 2nd floor

Book presentation and conversation with film restorer and researcher Masha Matzke (Deutsche Kinemathek Berlin) and contributing authors Stephen Broomer (University of Toronto) and Mike Hoolboom (York University), moderated by Jutta Brendemühl (Goethe-Institut Toronto).

Aiming at a long-overdue reappraisal of Dore O.’s avant-garde film practice, the fresh publication Figures of Absence exposes the formal rigour and inventiveness as well as the cultural connotations and historical ramifications of a cinematic vision that significantly contributed to an international continuum of radical film art. Through her relentless concentration on the medium’s capacity for abstraction and sensual address, Dore O. became one of the most renowned representatives of German experimental cinema — outside of Germany. International screenings and recognition by writers such as Mike Hoolboom have played a significant role in the history of her films’ reception. Figures of Absence features previously unpublished archival material and rare interviews with Dore O., extensive image material, as well as new contributions from international scholars and experts on women’s experimental cinema from Europe and North America, including Ute Aurand, Robin Blaetz, Marie-Hélène Gutberlet, and Sarah Keller, among others. Ultimately, the authors’ revisionist accounts of Dore O.’s films spark a debate on still underrepresented areas of women’s experimental cinema across borders, its dismissive reception across international borders, its legacy, and the history and causes of its marginalization.

The book will be available at the events, at the TIFF bookshop, and online.

About the artist:
Dorothea Alwine Oberloskamp, known as Dore O., was born in Mülheim, Germany, in 1946. She was an actress and director best known for works such as Alaska (1969), Blonde Barbarei (1972), and Kaskara (1974). Dore O. was the first woman to continuously and independently work in German experimental cinema in the 1960s. With her then-husband Werner Nekes, she co-founded the Hamburg Co-op, which was modeled after its New York counterpart. By bridging the personal and aesthetic realms while defying prevailing theories, both structural and feminist, she paved the way for a later generation of notable female filmmakers. Her radical self-following ultimately pushed her work to the periphery of that time. The Deutsche Kinemathek digitally restored her entire oeuvre from the 1960s and 70s in collaboration with Dore O., allowing for the preservation of the cinematic language Dore O. used to transform painterly concepts in a sensuous and evocative flow of multilayered images and sounds inducing a state in-between hypnosis and lucidity. Dore O. died in 2022, leaving behind the legacy of one of Germany's most important and innovative experimental filmmakers.

About the curator:
Masha Matzke is a Berlin-based film restorer, archivist, scholar, curator, and artist with a focus on experimental cinema at the Deutsche Kinemathek.


Monday, October 9, 2023 (All day) to Wednesday, October 11, 2023 (All day)



Monday, October 9, 2023 (All day) to Wednesday, October 11, 2023 (All day)