Retrospective Past Continuous: Remembering World War II
Retrospective Past Continuous: Remembering World War II

The retrospective brings together a selection of widely acclaimed and less well-known works that address the memory of the war, its beginning, its course, and its aftermath. These films show some of the different ways in which the war was experienced and remembered; they challenge established accounts by bringing in unknown evidence as well as by shedding light on known events from new angles. The end of the war inspired people all over the world with new hopes which shaped post-war visions of past and present. The accounts of the post-war hopes and shocking discoveries remain important documents about a period in flux which is often overshadowed by the war itself. The retrospective invites you to explore a variety of stances towards the past, adopted both by those who lived through the war and by those who learn about it through these narratives.

The True Story of Lili Marlene (Humphrey Jennings, UK, 1944, 22 min)
A British Crown film unit documentary about the famous World War II song, featuring original historical footage. It tells the story of the rise to popularity of this war-time favorite amongst troops of both the Eighth Army and the Afrika Korps in North Africa, and of the young singer, Lale Andersen, whose recording brought her both fame and danger in war-torn Germany. An evocative film which portrays the emotions of soldiers in the deserts of North Africa and the radio broadcasts designed to maintain morale.
Saturday, December 3, 4.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

A Diary for Timothy (Humphrey Jennings, UK, 1945, 40 min)
It's September 3 1944, exactly 5 years since the start of the war, and Timothy James Jenkins lies in his cot in the maternity ward. The narrator tells Timothy about Goronwy the miner, Alan the farmer, Bill the engine driver and Peter the wounded fighter pilot and how they, and the rest of the country, are engaged in Total War. The Allies are crossing the Belgian border and heading for Germany and everyone knows it's coming to an end. Still, the struggle goes on while Timothy gurgles in his crib: V2s fall on London, Goronwy is injured down the pit, and the RAF flattens Germany with its bombing. Meanwhile, cultural life goes on: Myra Hess gives piano recitals, a children's choir greets Soviet representatives, George Woodbridge and John Gielgud do the gravedigger's scene from Hamlet. The diary takes the story up to the fall of Germany and V Day. As the war draws to a close there is a growing interest in what happens next and a resolution on the part of the participants that they don't want things messed up like last time. A snapshot in time of ordinary people, their hopes and aspirations, it is considered by many to be Jennings's masterpiece.
Saturday, December 3, 4.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Memory of the Camps (Stewart McAllister and Peter Tanner, Treatment advisor: Alfred Hitchcock, Produced by Sidney Bernstein and Sergei Nolbandov, UK, 1945, 58min)
Memory of the Camps was the title allocated by the Imperial War Museum to a documentary on the liberation of the German concentration camps. It was assembled in London during 1945, as a joint Allied project, but never released. After the Americans withdrew from the project, it became the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Information. Alfred Hitchcock had been named director, and a second treatment was provided by Richard Crossman, who had visited Belsen. Five of the film's presumed six reels were transferred from the War Office film vaults to the Museum Film Archive in 1952. The current narration was recorded in 1985. The shocking footage of the film is followed by a line of the commentary which says that the film-makers hope the audience may "absorb what it is hoped will be a dreadful lesson".
Saturday, December 3, 8.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

At the Trial of the Main Nazi Criminals in Nuremberg / На процессе главных немецких преступников в Нюрнберге (Roman Karmen, Soviet Union, 1946, 17 min)
Recorded by famous director and cameraman Roman Karmen in court, this short film consists entirely of footage from the Nuremberg trial, featuring the main defendants as well as the judges from the allied countries. Various fragments of the extensive Nuremberg footage were later used in numerous films condemning Nazism (The Trial of Nations) as well as for drawing an often manipulative parallel with contemporaries (Nuremberg 40 years later).
Thursday, December 1, 4.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Nuremberg (Pare Lorentz, Stuart Schulberg, USA, 1946, 78 min)
Directed and edited by famed American documentary filmmaker Pare Lorentz in 1946, the film was "buried" by the U.S. government which was afraid that it was too shocking. The film was rediscovered in 1996 by researchers at The Tinbergen Archives, a Holocaust research and education institute in Beverly Hills, California. The film consists almost entirely of captured Nazi footage.
Thursday, December 1, 4.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Asylrecht (Report on the Refugee Situation in January 1949) / Right of Asylum (Rudolf W. Kipp, British Sector in Germany, 1949, 37 min)
The film shows the situation of the refugees and asylum seekers in the British Sector, where many tried to escape from the Soviet zone. In the first part of the film we see numerous refugees crossing the border, then the ‘green border’ between the zones, as well as guards on both side and a bus carrying refugees. Later the camps in Schleswig-Holstein, Niedersachsen and Nordrhein-Westfalen are shown. The final long episode demonstrates the interviewing and the 'admission to the West' procedures in Lager Uelzen, where the 'sorting' of the refugees takes place. We see how different individual cases are treated: rejected refugees face a choice between staying illegally in the British zone and returning to the Soviet zone. The same material was later reedited in the spirit of the Cold War, and all the disturbing 'selection' scenes were taken out.
Saturday, December 3, 4.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

The First Years / Pierwse Lata (Joris Ivens, 1949, The Netherlands, 99 min)
Inspired by the high hopes raised by the end of World War II, the committed left-wing director welcomed the emergence of the socialist states in Eastern Europe. Originally the film was to consist of four episodes on the new democracies in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Poland. But after Tito quarreled with the Soviet authorities, the section about Yugoslavia was dropped. In the Bulgarian part irrigation projects make the people less dependent on rain. The Czech part tells us about Jan Hus and Czech nationalism, and the installation of a new social and economic order after the war. In the Polish episode we follow a woman who leaves devastated Warsaw to build a new existence in the west of Poland, working in a steel factory. All three episodes breathe the optimism of the socialist promise, and sketch the road of transformation from a pre-war capitalist country into a new socialist democracy.
Saturday, December 3, 2.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Brutality in Stone / Brutalität in Stein, Die Ewigkeit Von Gestern (Alexander Kluge & Peter Schamoni, 1960, FRG, 12 min)
This film returns to the scene of Nurenburg Party Congress a quarter of a century after Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. Now the locus is forsaken and vacant, a space in abeyance. Speer's gargantuan structures and Hitler's pompous designs are revisited in this exercise in critical art history and radical archeology. The film confronts the legacy of National Socialism in an undertaking driven by an inexorable will not to forget. Kluge’s first film tries to provide an analysis of the Nazi system, based upon its architecture, showing pictures of 'the splendour of the rallies of the Reich', in Nuremberg and the plans of a gigantic congress hall in roman style. "As a film, Brutality in Stone not only offers an interesting amount of information and explanation on a chapter of German cultural history, but also and equally provides evidence of the first renovating tendencies of post-war West German cinema" – Ulrich Gregor.
Thursday, December 1, 6.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater
Sunday, December 4, 4.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Teachers in changing times / Lehrer im Wandel (Alexander Kluge, Karen Kluge,1962/63, FRG, 11 min)
Three different yet paradigmatic stories in which idealism clashes with ‘big history.’ Adolf Reichwein was a Prussian government official and university professor. Under the Nazis he retired to a village school, where he developed a model of the teaching principles. In 1944 he was hanged. Friedrich Rühl was a passionate teacher, who believed in the power of education. In 1944 he had to lead a group of his pupils to the battlefront; only four survived. After the war, Rühl no longer wanted to return to teaching. Margit M. was a partisan of the so-called radical scholastic reform. She felt that 'under the dictatorship of the party', she would not be able to continue working as a headteacher. She finally obtained a teaching post in East Germany, but was later "excluded from the teaching profession.
Sunday, December 4, 4.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Innocence Unprotected / Nevinost bez zastite (Dusan Makavejev, 1968, Yugoslavia, 78 min)
Documentary about the famous Serbian athlete and movie enthusiast who made a feature film during the Nazi occupation of Belgrade - and got into trouble after the liberation as a result. Yugoslav director Dusan Makavejev stumbled upon a copy of the first Yugoslavian "talkie", which was suppressed after World War II because the director, professional strong man Aleksic, had obtained his equipment from the Germans. In a historical collage, Makavejev mixed interviews with the crew and Aleksic with German propaganda and parts of the original melodrama by Aleksic.
Friday, December 2, 4.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

A History of Postwar Japan as Told by a Bar Hostess / Nippon Sengoshi - Madamu Onboro No Seikatsu (Shohei Imamura, Japan, 1970, 105 min)
Imamura interviews Madame Onboro, owner of a bar and married to an American soldier after WWII. Her description of "how it was" during the American Occupation is intercut with newsreel footage that often contradicts her testimony. The film provides an alternative voice to the 'official' history writers; its candid and straightforward approach poses questions about the very nature of documentary filmmaking and remains a work of exceptional mastery.
Sunday, December 4, 2.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Package-Tour / Társasutazás (Gyula Gazdag, Hungary, 1984, 75 min)
This documentary follows a group of former prisoners as they travel to Auschwitz. The visit to the camp brings back their memories of the war and detention, the destinies of those who perished and those who survived. The scenes of the journey are intercut with an interview with a woman who stayed at home, suffering from a recurrent illness contracted in the camp. She speaks in tranquil recollection about the death queues where matters of life and death were decided with horrifying arbitrariness.
Saturday, December 3, 6.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Pictures of Germany / Deutschlandbilder (Hartmut Bitomsky and Heiner Mühlenbrock, 1983/84, FRG, 60 min)
An insightful examination of more than thirty so-called "Kulturfilme", Nazi documentary shorts shown in movie theaters before the feature film. Their depiction of a self-confident Germany populated by nature lovers, craftsmen, and people devoted to both progress and tradition is revealed as a perfidious strategy for claiming wide-spread support for the regime. The film is composed of excerpts from more than 30 documentary films that were made and shown in the period between 1933 and 1945 - profoundly hypocritical works whose intention was to conceal the function assigned to them.
Sunday, December 4, 4.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

The Lie. 'Compensation' for Gypsies (Sinti) in Germany / Das falsche Wort. Die "Wiedergutmachung" an Zigeunern (Sinte) in Deutschland (Melanie Spitta and Katrin Seybold; FRG, 1987, 85 min)
This documentary deals with the persecution of German 'gypsies' during National Socialism and the reparations after 1945. With the help of newspaper articles, pictures, documents and material assembled by the 'racial researchers' it proves that the persecution of Sinti (and Roma) started as early as 1936, and not – as was later believed – in 1943. After the war, evidence was kept under lock and key in order to prevent or at least postpone reparations. Only in 1981, after Sinti protests, could the files be examined.
Friday, December 2, 6.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Images of the World and the Inscription of War / Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges (Harun Farocki, Germany, 1988, 16 mm, Colour & B/W, 75 min)
A meditation on the power of photography and image with, at its center, the incredible true story of U.S. bombers flying over Poland in April 1944 and inadvertently photographing Auschwitz, resulting in photos which remained buried in CIA files until the 1970s. This is merely the springboard, however, for director Farocki to free associate - using images - on topics ranging from photography to measurement. A high-intensity collage, containing fragments of serious historical importance.
Thursday, December 1, 6.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

The Eye of Vichy / L’oeil de Vichy (Claude Chabrol, 1993, France, 110 min)
A brilliantly chosen compilation of long-forgotten footage and newsreels produced by the Nazis and their French collaborators during World War II. From the small town of Vichy in central France, Field Marshal Petain’s puppet government worked with their Nazi overlords to create pro-Nazi propaganda. Seeking to turn the tide of public emotion against both the Allies and the Jews, they skillfully produced a strange alternative history of the war years that is shocking and grimly fascinating. French New Wave filmmaker Claude Chabrol creates a masterful look at Nazis and their manipulation.
Sunday, December 4, 8.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising According to Marek Edelman / Kronika powstania w getcie warszawskim według Marka Edelmana (Jolanta Dylewska, Poland, 1994, 70 min)
Marek Edelman, a member of the Jewish Labor Bund and a leading participant in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, provides an amazingly thorough and vivid account of the historic chain of events from April 19 through May 10, 1942. Edelmen's memories are augmented by the film's mesmerizing, poetic use of slow-motion and freeze-frame techniques applied to Nazi footage of Jews about to be deported. "A passionate, eloquent reminder that there can never be enough productions on the Holocaust, at least when they contain as much heart, soul and insight as Edelman's Chronicle".
Monday, December 5, 8.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater

Meanwhile Somewhere ... 1940-43 / Miközben valahol… 1940-43 (Péter Forgács, Hungary, 1994, 52 min)
Using found footage (home movies and footage of the German Army), the filmmaker weaves together the fabric of everyday life for the Dutch bourgeoisie of the 1940s: bathing babies, celebrating weddings, enjoying picnics, and taking vacations while a war was going on and people were dying somewhere off camera. Running throughout the film is the public humiliation of a Polish girl and a German boy, young lovers, as townspeople casually witness the incident in a village in the occupied Poland. Unforgettable, striking images of the Second World War.
Sunday, December 4, 6.30pm. Örökmozgó Film Theater