Fernando Birri


In Argentina, mid- XIX century, the gauchos Anastasio el Pollo and his friend Don Laguna find themselves sitting on top of the knotty roots of a lone ombú, the largest tree in the world. Along with gin and yerba mate, Anastasio shares with Don Laguna his impressions of the performance of Goethe’s Faust at the old Colón Theater in Buenos Aires on August 24, 1866. In his account, Anastasio transposes the images, characters and situations from his own life. R: Fernando Birri Argentinien 2011 87min, OF­eUT


The American newspaper mogul Charles Foster Kane dies in 1941 in his monstrous castle Xanadu. As a snow globe falls from his hand to the floor and breaks into pieces, his last word is “rosebud“. What did he mean by this? Thompson, a newsreel journalist, tries to find out the meaning of rosebud, hoping to discover something special about the editor’s death. Orson Welles set new standards with this film, whose construction as well as camera work and lighting are revolutionary.   USA 1941 Regie: Orson Welles 119 min, 35mm, schwarzweiß, OF mit dt. UT


With this documentary film Fernando Birri commemorates his grandfather and all the emigrants who left Friuli at the end of the 19th century and went to Latin America. He presents the Northern Italian region of today using visual memories of the past: the mills, the streets, the fields, places where his grandfather used to live and work. The film is an elegy of the dreams of a better future which dissolve into a musical poem.   Italy 2007 Regie: Fernando Birri 20 min, Video, Farbe, OF mit engl. UT


Juan Quinquin, a poor but smart farmer, gets through life in pre-revolutionary Cuba in many different ways: as a church clerk and circus artist, bull fighter and coffee planter, who gets conned by the owners of the coffee plantation. He even plays Christ in a moving theater. When the revolution starts, he and his friend Jachero become followers of Fidel Castro and the two get closed in on by Batista soldiers.   Cuba 1967 Regie: Julio García Espinosa 113 min, 35mm, schwarzweiß, OF mit dt. UT


The residents of a slum area on the outskirts of Santa Fé are evacuated after their neighborhood was flooded. They are temporarily quartered in freight cars. After a while they get banished from there, too. Only Don Dolorcito’s family refuses to leave their wagon. By coincidence their car gets docked to another train and a long odyssey through Argentina has its start. A picaresque story about Creole rascals told in the tradition of Italian neorealism.   Argentina 1961 Regie: Fernando Birri 87 min, 35mm, schwarzweiß, OF mit dt. UT


The story of this experimental film is based on Thomas Mann’s “The Transposed Heads“, which has its origin in the Hindu legend “The 25 Stories of Vatala”. According to Birri, it is an “anti-film“ which reflects the utopia and negation of the crisis of the left on the one hand and the language of cinema on the other. Birri adapts the material like an alchemist looking for a cosmic cinema of delirium. 26.000 cuts and 700 sound levels were deconstructed. Terence Hill plays Zohomm and is the producer of the film.   Italy/AR 1978 Regie: Fernando Birri 120 min, Beta SP, Farbe, OF mit dt. UT


In Paris a group of exiled artists from Argentina rehearse a musical spectacle about Tango. Juan Uno, a gifted bandoneon player, receives a book about the story of the legendary singer Carlos Gardel, sent to him by Juan Dos, who has remained in Buenos Aires and resists the dictatorship. Fernando Solanas creates a magical ‘tangedia’ – a mix of dance, comedy and tragedy about exile. Solanas became famous with his feature films EL VIAJE and SUR.   Argentina/FR 1985 Regie: Fernando E. Solanas 125 min, 35mm, Farbe, OF mit engl. UT

TIRE DIÉ – A Life for a Dime

The outskirts of Santa Fé in a district of the poor. The train tracks lead towards a huge bridge. The trains have to slow down here – this is an opportunity for the youngsters of the neighborhood to beg for a dime, for most of them this is indispensable to life, for all of them it is a dangerous game. Political cinema in Argentina begins with TIRE DIÉ, which is the first cinematic document of misery in Argentine.   Argentina 1960 Regie: Fernando Birri 33 min, 35mm, schwarzweiß, OF mit dt. UT

ULTIMO TANGO A PARIGI – Last Tango in Paris

Paul (Marlon Brando), an American living in Paris, is devastated after his wife’s suicide. Looking for a place that doesn’t remind him of her, he meets the young French woman Jeanne (Maria Schneider). The two are attracted to each other sexually straight away. Involving himself in this purely physical relationship, Paul tries to get in control of his desperation. When Paul tries to build a stronger connection to Jeanne, they are heading towards a catastrophe.   Italy/FR 1972 Regie: Bernardo Bertolucci 129 min, 35mm, Farbe, OF mit dt. UT

UN SEÑOR MUY VIEJO CON UNAS ALAS ENORMES – A very old man with enormous wings

During a storm a very old man with enormous wings falls from the sky near a small farm by the Caribbean coast, where Pelayo and Elisenda live. The presence of the heavenly provocateur, who had fallen into the farmstead of Nuevo Pueblo Viejo, immediately attracts a stream of pilgrims who come from the other side of the horizon hoping to find wonders and cure for their diseases. A baroque and tragicomic fable based on the homonymous story by Gabriel García Márquez.   Cuba/IT/ES 1988 Regie: Fernando Birri 90 min, 35mm, Farbe, OF mit dt. UT