'Berlin: Symphony of a Great City,' North Korean Concentration Camps

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City by Walther Ruttmann

The Los Angeles Filmforum will be hosting the Munich Film Museum's Stefan Droessler on Friday March 12, 8:00 pm at the The Echo Park Film Center. As per the Filmforum press release, the Museum “has an ongoing program of restoration of film works and issuing exemplary DVD editions through the Edition Filmmuseum label.”

At Filmforum, Droessler will “present the issues and process involved in their restoration of the pioneering film work of Walther Ruttmann, followed by a presentation of the classic poetic documentary masterwork Berlin: Symphony of a Great City [1927].  The presentation will include photos, scans of paintings, and Ruttmann's short films OPUS I-IV, and will last about 60-80 minutes, followed by intermission and the screening of Berlin, which is 65 minutes.”

From Filmforum:

Walther Ruttmann (1887-1941) is a pioneer of modern multimedia art. His first short films are unique experiments with forms, colors, and rhythm, his innovative commercials connected abstract animation art with concrete messages. The symphonic documentary Berlin, die Sinfonie der Großstadt is one of the most famous silent classics, the travelogue Melodie der Welt became the first German sound feature film. With the radio play Weekend Ruttmann created the first “sound film without images” while his short In der Nacht transforms music to images and is a prototype of modern music videos. The 2-disc DVD by Edition Filmmuseum combines for the first time all surviving works by Walther Ruttmann from 1920-1931 in newly restored and reconstructed versions, often with original scores.

Where: The Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N Alvarado St. (@ Sunset Blvd.) Los Angeles, CA. 90026 | (213) 484 – 8846 | info@echoparkfilmcenter.org

Admission $10 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members

Advance ticket purchase available through Brown Paper Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/100978

Kimjongilia by N.C. Heikin

Kimjongilia, N.C. Heikin's documentary about the experiences of North Korean refugees and of those who managed to escape from Kim Jong Il's concentration camps, has its New York theatrical premiere at Cinema Village on March 19.

The text below is from the fim's press release:

Lorber Films is pleased to present the New York theatrical premiere of KIMJONGILIA, N.C. Heikin's unblinking indictment of life in North Korea under the dictatorship of Kim Jong Il. This searing examination of the communist dictatorship established by Kim Il-sung and continued today by his son Kim Jong-il dispels the illusion of a Worker's Paradise peddled by the North Korean government and exposes the injustice, tragedy and famine that has prevailed over the past forty years.

Heikin compiles a series of testimonies – and daring escape stories – from concentration camp refugees, to defectors to former Korean Army officers. The result is a collage of firsthand witnesses to the unrepentant pain caused by a tyrannical leadership. The courageous individuals documented here have risked everything in the hope of exposing the truth about this cloistered, xenophobic territory. Their testimonies are supplemented by interpretive dance and a riveting score, indicative of the filmmakers keen interest in Korean art – both the propagandistic genre sanctioned by the government and the forbidden artistic expression that can result in execution. Footage of cheery government agitprop is juxtaposed with survivor testimonies and cold, hard facts. The film's practice of exposing the truth through ironic exhibition extends to its title, “Kimjongilia,” being the name of the gorgeous red flower symbol created to celebrate Kim Jong Il's 46th birthday. This feature-length documentary is a damning condemnation of a regime founded upon total oppression of its people.

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