This screening honors the work and legacy of one of Germany’s most pioneering, yet overlooked experimental filmmakers. In the 1960s, the painter Dore O. became one of the first women to work consistently and independently in postwar German experimental cinema. A co-founder of the Hamburg Co-op, she was actively involved in exploring new forms of cinema with her then-husband, Werner Nekes. Radically following her own path, she laid the groundwork for a later generation of notably female filmmakers by bridging the realms of the personal and the aesthetic while defying prevailing theories, both structural and feminist – a refusal that rendered her work hard to categorize, ultimately pushing it to the margins. For almost 35 years, despite an overall decline in German experimental film in the 1970s, Dore O. carried on, meticulously crafting a filmic reality that is captured and experienced foremost as a sensuous and evocative flow of multilayered images and sounds, which induce a state in-between hypnosis and lucidity. Dore O. transformed painterly concepts into a distinctly cinematic language, using complex in-camera editing and rephotographing techniques, rhythmic alternations between depth and surface, stillness and motion, to “create new architectures of old forms” (Dore O.). Going beyond the strictly personal or formalistic, her work thwarts those categories in its highly enigmatic and elusive poetics, by conveying new modes of introspection, states of consciousness, and vaguely evoked stories from inside the layers of celluloid film.
By the 2000s, nearly her entire oeuvre from the 1960s and 70s had become inaccessible due to the poor condition of the remaining film prints. These were digitally restored in recent years at the Deutsche Kinemathek in collaboration with Dore O. and released on DVD by Re:Voir.
The screening celebrates the release of the new publication Figures of Absence - The Films of Dore O. (Strzelecki Books, ed. by Masha Matzke). It features previously unpublished archival material and rare interviews with Dore O., extensive image material, as well as new contributions from the leading scholars and experts on (women’s) experimental cinema from Europe and North America, including Albert Alcoz, Ute Aurand, Robin Blaetz, Christine Noll Brinckmann, Stephen Broomer, Vera Dika, Mike Hoolboom, Sarah Keller, Anthony Moore, Lucy Reynolds, and Maureen Turim, among others. A key issue at hand is the reception of women’s experimental cinema across internatíonal borders. The authors’ revisionist accounts of Dore O.’s films spark a debate on still underrepresented areas of women's experimental cinema, its legacy, the history and causes of its marginalization. In the words of Robin Blaetz, Dore O.’s early films “provide a sort of prototype for some of the most interesting and influential feminist experimental films of the early 1970s.”
– Masha Matzke
Screening introduced by Masha Matzke, film archivist and researcher at the Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin
The screening will be followed by a convivial reception at the Luminor’s Salon, where the book will be available for purchase.
- Jüm-Jüm (Werner Nekes & Dore O., 1967, DCP, color, sound, 10' 00)
- Alaska (Dore O., 1968, DCP, color, sound, 18' 00)
- Lawale (Dore O., 1969, DCP, color, sound, 30' 00)
- Kaskara (Dore O., 1974, DCP, color, sound, 20' 00)