Mediamatic Magazine 3#2 1 Jan 1988

Arsenals - Forum des Filmes

It takes two days to travel by train from Cologne to Riga. Alternating flat land and woods determine the view - lots of time to reflect - where am I actually goin g to? The Baltic states with their traditional ChristianJewish culture as the crossroads and
transfer-point of East and West cinematography. The festival in Riga is one of the few non-commercial film festivals. Even in the Soviet Union there are only two of these (in Moscow and Tashkent, and occasionally in Odessa ). But these festivals are not devoted to the cause of experimental film and art video. This is one
good reason to applaud the emergence of this FORUM, which is directed by VLADIS GOLDBERGS and ATIS AMOLINS.


Arsenals - Forum des Filmes -

The festival was inaugurated by a performance of a number of artists from Riga. An Iron Curtain (a fish net ) of about 25 metres long and 4 metres wide was hung in front of the PLANETARIUM ( a church converted into an architectural museum and was cut symbolically with special scissors. The organizers' intention behind this act of Perestroika was to express their desire for communication. According to VLADIS GOLDBERGS, interviewed in Infermental, the aim of the FORUM was to induce the population of Riga to adopt a new way of looking at the new visual art and also to stimulate discussion.
The structure of the festival was well adapted to this idea. There were retrospectives of JEAN-LUC GODARD, MIKLOS JANSCO, MILOS FORMANand JOS STELLING, a series of documentaries from Letland, a programme entitled Independent American Cinema, a retrospective of English avantgarde film selected by DAVID CURTIS,and a screening of the new Russian cinema. There was a presentation of the school for animation in Krakau and the Polish experimental scene around JOSEF ROBAKOWSKI and MALGORZATA POTOCKA. The inevitable topical flavour was provided by an international selection
of films made in 1987 and '88 and a special video section. The documentary //]ungstes
Gericht// by HERCFRAKS deals with the recently executed black-market dealer from
Letland, and criticizes social injustice in the USSR; a shocking analysis of the world of
judges and convicts.
Apart from the official programme, young Russian filmers also had an opportunity to present their work. The group CINE FANTOM was represented with a programme called PARALLEL, which included work by the ALEINIKOW brothers, TEATR & TEATR, and by GREGORJEW OSTREZOW from Moscow, and EVGENIN JUFIT from Leningrad. Really innovative was Traktor, the latest film (16mm) by the ALEINIKOW brothers. In a narrative on several levels, IGOR and GLEBALEINIKOW are able to express very accurately and with subtle humour the ambivalence of a tool and its symbolism for socialist society.
Most spectators were surprised by the homage to PRINZ FASSBINDER by BORIS
JOCHANANOW as interpreted by EVGENIN CORBA - after the novel and film Querelle.
The exposition of so-called extravagant phenomena is not yet part and parcel of the daily practice of Russian filmers. The showing of Infermental VII (Buffalo- New York edition 1988) and Infermental VIII (Tokyo edition 1988) - ten solid hours of international video art provoked the same kind of reaction as the year before at the film festival of Moscow.
Many young people stormed the stage asking: How can I take part in this? At the
end of Infermental, some of them spontaneously showed their work. In the
video section, videos from England were shown by RENNYBARTLETT, and
NORBERT MEISSNER showed a selection rom the collection of 235-VIDEO in Cologne.
Therefore, the one thing we hope is that this Forum in Riga will be held regularly in the future. The organization fights for greater independence from the GOSKINO in
Moscow, and for a more fluent transfer of film tins and video cassettes, which are still
held up at the Customs. VLADIS GOLDBERGS and ATIS AMOLINS have laid the foundation for a cultural-historical Forum.