Phoenix Cinema: Meeting with Alexander Kluge

e-flux Film is very pleased to present Phoenix Cinema: Meeting with Alexander Kluge, a special series of events featuring works and discussions with renowned German filmmaker and author Alexander Kluge.

Phoenix Cinema offers a unique opportunity to delve into the extensive body of work of Alexander Kluge, a renowned figure in post-war German cinema, literature, and cultural theory. This comprehensive program explores Kluge’s multifaceted legacy, tracing his influential roles in cinema, art, and theory over the past six decades and presenting new works. Born in 1932 in Halberstadt, Germany, Kluge’s creative career spans filmmaking, writing, criticism, and television production. In the 1950s, he pursued academic studies at the University of Marburg and later at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, where he became a student of Theodor W. Adorno. Adorno’s theory, particularly his critique of the culture industry and writings on negative dialectics, had a significant impact on Kluge, providing a theoretical foundation for his subsequent work in film and literature.

Kluge’s cinematic career began in the 1960s, and he played a pivotal role in the emergence of the New German Cinema movement. In 1962, Kluge was one of the filmmakers who signed the Oberhausen Manifesto, which called for a new kind of German cinema that challenged traditional storytelling and addressed contemporary social issues. In addition to his work in cinema, Kluge’s theoretical contributions are no less significant. His collaboration with philosopher Oskar Negt on Public Sphere and Experience (1972) explores the intersections of personal experience and public discourse. Beyond cinema and writing, Kluge has significantly influenced independent public television in Germany, founding the Development Company for Television Program (DCTP) and producing numerous programs that challenge mainstream media narratives and encourage critical thinking and public engagement. Kluge’s work is also marked by collaborations with modern and contemporary artists, bridging historical and contemporary artistic practices and highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of his work. His legacy, built on a foundation of intellectual rigor and creative experimentation, continues to inspire contemporary filmmakers and artists. Building on this rich and diverse legacy, Phoenix Cinema proposes an experimental format to engage with multiple sides of Kluge’s career, offering an interactive meeting with the artist rather than a traditional screening program. 

This series of events showcases selected film works by Kluge from the twentieth century, and also features a number of his short experimental films made with AI technology, which Kluge describes as films shot by “virtual camera,” ones that demonstrate his search for a new language to connect with contemporary audiences and reflect on techno-political transformations of the public sphere. Together with the short AI films, the program will present prerecorded and real-time discussions with Kluge, offering insights into his thoughts on history, art, technology, and the infinite potential of human imagination to process reality. This dynamic and interactive format of Phoenix Cinema invites people to engage with the past and present of Kluge’s multifaceted and rich body of work, creating a space for reflection and dialogue.

The program unfolds in four parts taking place at e-flux Screening Room on June 13, 15, and 18, 2024, and in a six-part online screening on e-flux Film released weekly from June 6–July 17, 2024.

Online program
All films stream through July 17, 2024

01. June 6 
Alexander Kluge, Yesterday Girl (1966, 84’) 
Angelika Wittlich, All Feelings Believe in a Happy Ending (2002, 78’) 

02. June 13 
Alexander Kluge, The Power of Emotion (1983, 90’)

03. June 20
Jonas Mekas, On the Holy Spirit (2016, 2’) 
Alexander Kluge and DCTP, The Eiffel Tower, King Kong, and the White Woman (1988, 24:18’) 
Alexander Kluge and DCTP, Paper Tiger Television, New York (1989, 24:06’) 
Alexander Kluge and DCTP, Chicago in Time Lapse (1996, 24:08’) 
Alexander Kluge, Light Veins (5:25’) 
Alexander Kluge, Multiple Images for Five Projectors (2007, 22:48’)

04. June 27 
Selections of recent films by Alexander Kluge: The Art World
Planetary Man (3:40’) / Commentary on Aby Warburg’s Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, Panel B, Picture 9 
Eomaia (Mother of the Dawn) (3:41’) / Homage to Francis Bacon and Georg Baselitz 
Zirkus, Richter’s Tango (2:24’)
In the Rock of Signs (3:39’) / For Anselm Kiefer
String Cinema – Mathematical Minute Opera (2’) / Homage to Anselm Kiefer
Happy Root From Non-Identity (4:01’) / With the painter Gerhard Richter 

05. July 4
Dialectic of Enlightenment / The Frankfurt School
Reason is a Balancing Animal (2:41’) 
We Philosophers from Eve’s Rib with Pictures of Adele Röder (2:22’) 
Max Horkheimer – Philosopher and Sociologist (2:06’) 
The Mammoth’s Homecoming, a Composition of Th. W. Adorno in the Year 1941 (1:31’) 
Attack on a Thick Glass Door (1:52’) 
The Revolution is a Creature Full of Surprises (6:10’) 
An Opera That Sparked a Revolution / With pictures by James Ensor and Alexander Kluge (7:37’) 

06. July 11
Selections of recent films by Alexander Kluge: Cinema Revisited
Beginnings of Film Art (3:29’) 
Sam Remembers Papa Kong (0:42’)
Sergej Eisenstein Stages Alexander Newski (1938) and Wagner‘s Walküre (1940) (2:57’)
Sarah Morris and Alexander Kluge, Mimosa Tank / Homage to the Genius Film Director Fritz Lang (5:44’)

e-flux Screening Room on June 13, 15, 18
For the program at e-flux Screening Room see here.

For more information, contact

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4 Videos

July 11–17, 2024

6 Videos

July 4–17, 2024

6 Videos

June 27–July 17, 2024

6 Videos

June 20–July 17, 2024

1 Video

June 13–July 17, 2024

2 Videos

June 6–July 17, 2024


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