This month Arsenal cinema reflects on the Kammerspiel movement. The film genre, which emerged in 1920s Berlin, was named after the chamber theatre built by Deutsches Theater director Max Reinhardt. With its modest and intimate set design, ‘chamber theatre’ was a concept conceived with the aim of creating unity between the stage and audience. Reinhardt’s ideas heavily influenced Kammerspiel film and as such its distinct style is indebted to chamber theatre; with similar spacial and temporal restrictions and a stripped back plot – it explored character psychology and didn’t shy away from unhappy endings. Kammerspiel provided a strong contrast to the German Expressionism film which was popular at the time; whilst Expressionism put the spotlight on emotion, exaggeration and fantasy, Kammerspiel brought a dose of realism to post-war cinema.
Arsenal will present a selection of silent classics from the movement such as Lupu Pick’s Scherben and Leopold Jessner’s Hintertreppe, as well as works inspired by the genre, such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Jacqueline Audry’s adaptation of Huit Clos, a play penned by Jean-Paul Sartre.
Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’.
See below for times and dates and here for more information on all films.
Arsenal Kammerspielfilm Calendar
11.01/18.01 – Nobody Knows
15.01 – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
16.01/17.01 Der Totmacher
21.01/22.01 Alle Anderen
24.01/25.01 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce – 1080 Bruxelles
26.01/27.01 Huis Clos