CiTiZEN KiNO in Btropolis is NOT DEAD ! + a Post-Berlinale Rant …


… ( +/- ) ….

C-KiNO in Btropolis is NOT DEAD ( yet ) !

We’ve just been on another attrition holiday… but we are constructing new shows for 2019… because the mission is still very much a part of our survival… ours personally, but probably yours too ! Take a look around you… Given the current state of affairs, and now in very scientific terms, you have about 12 YEARS or less to get your heads out of the ass of humanity’s all time greatest ERRor ! ( Of course, we should read this timeline as merely a new effort to transmit the urgencies of a problem whereby people around the globe are already suffering the consequences ).

The Mission: We are here to decolonize your planet !

It’s also our project birthday ( of sorts ) … We took a look at the XLterrestrials archives, and in FEB 2007, we set ourselves in motion to tour a cinema AND anti-cinema project, a Shrodinger’s cursed cat… to roam the (western) lands … and scratch your (proxy) eyes out !

Excerpt:  “The only interesting venture is the liberation of everyday life, not only
in a historical perspective, but for us, right now. This project implies the
withering away of all the alienated forms of communication. The cinema, too, must be destroyed.” G. Debord

( XLt note: You can read this as the unique poetic fury of Situationism, and/or an attempt to tactically find the exits. And of course, we could also imagine updating the insights to apply them to our exacerbated digital-era alienations.  )

But yes, we also know how to be cuddly with our comrades ( incl. those artists who make media and film ), who know what state we’re in, and together want to change the world ! In reality, we are often a soft arts and praxis, and a pedagogic experiment… with a certain kind of militance, sure… but nothing compared to this techno-fascist world and the violence which has subjugated and twisted human intelligence into an unrecognizable terrorized subject/object.


Ok, before we lose too many short-attention-span Surf-Age readers ( hey, no offense, we’ve all been there ), we wanted to alert you that we are RAISING FUNDS to produce the next episodes… We need your help… Donate NOW … ask us HOW ? ( SEnd us a mail here, and we’ll send you an entertaining personalized fundraising plea )

And for those who are in for the long haul… a special treat:

The XLT Post-Berlinale Rant …

The Bobo Time-Capsule Art ?! …


The Chicken Wings of Desire




Bruno Ganz passed away this weekend… Rise in Peace !

We found this foto of him standing/posing in front of one of the bunkers ( now a touristy museum at Anhalter Banhof, yep the one that was completely flattened in WW2 ) which has one of our favorite graffiti texts… ( Whoever builds bunkers, throws bombs ). And we took this foto of the same bunker c.2016… the graffiti is STiLL there ! Surprisingly not yet gentrified, not yet turned into a co-working space for precarious wage-slaves in the cybernetic industry regime !

It’s hard to measure what an impact Bruno had on our lives… he popped in at different times to provide some eye-opening inspirations – Der Amerikanische Freund, Wings, Downfall and all those hilarious viral remakes ) Thx + heartfelt Respex ! He was an unusual and gentle master of the art !

… And as cynical as this piece is going to still get, cinema is and was a mighty weapon, a magical language, poetry in (flat screen reductive) motion ;) … a beautiful mutant friend in the cut-off, separated, lonely and militarized border times ! Beware !

Wings of Desire (1987) was being shot during our first years landed in the Btropolis. We passed by those mysterious film set locations a few times… We were at the Esplanade Hotel (ruins) when Nick Cave sang “She lived in Room 29…” ( From Her To Eternity ) dozens of times, with his übercool bandmates in tow. Note: If you ever want to kill the magic of an emotional song, watch it being unperformed by a bunch of stuffed caricature-icons on a high-profile film set over and over and over again. To the outside viewers, just so ya know, and in case it’s not obvious: This was NOT a concert, it was an entirely and tediously-staged production.

When it finally came to the big screen, we gathered at Cinema Paris in the KuDamm. Was it a special premiere for us Berliners? Can’t remember for sure… One of the most surreal moments was listening to Angel 1 and Angel 2 discussing the souls of humans in the auto dealership JUST ACROSS THE STREET from this very cinema. That realization in the midst of a film trance, was an odd crack of extra light pouring into the circus contortonist’s medium.  And in fact the whole film had elements that played – intentionally or not – with that over-exposed dual nature of the mediated experience. The whole art ride had scenes for us that permeated our every day orientations + real life experiences of the still profusely bleeding black+white-like history overdose that IS Berlin, and the oozing in-the-flesh grey ( haunted) city we inhabited. Like: Just last week we were in THat street. Hey, Just the other day we crossed THat bridge. Just a couple hours ago we stepped over one of those Stolpersteine. Wenders was shooting OUR times, our places, our (newfound) home. And he did so with such a fresh aesthetic touch, that we – the young and star-gazing impressionables – could almost feel the film and its story belonged especially to us, and to our own longings… and to our own alien (and/or reborn ) arrivals.

And yet, the more one closely examines it, and over all the years that now provide the required distance … one is compelled to ask more about where it fails and falls flat and hollow … and even self-indulgent. In the absence of all the authentic lives in the Btropolis, this is an outsider’s scripted,  capitalized, fake memoir, a tourist flipbook, a Bobo’s skewed + filtered + formulaic encounter with our gritty and cold, passionate, painful and embodied realities.

It was a dream within a dream within a shoebox, that may or may not have contained our very own pair of cha cha heels …  ( “Where’s my fucking cha cha heels ?” Divine says in Female Trouble, as she opens her Xmas package, before she bursts into a tantrum, knocks over the Xmas tree and berates her shocked and helpless parents )…

Still, we WERE mesmerized, hypnotized, charmed… and kinda duped.  We were now part of this black screen magic ! And we opened the pandora’s black box and sliced open this silver screen cadaver, we ran our imaginary fingers through its slippery monochrome intestines, and ate them up with big devious gothic smiles ! Of course we loved it ! We had tasted the blood of the mediated craft !

30+ years later, we have a complex old whiskey flavor in our mouths ( and images of the fallen … death-by-damaged-liver ; ) when pondering it, and it’s appropriately, an entirely schizophrenic, mixed up, upside-down view of this art cinema masterpiece and/or tourist time-capsule trainwreck.

to be cont.

A small digression…

We didn’t see any of Berlinale ( Spectacle Industry ) this year, but we got a fascinating preview the week it was coming to bite all our spectacle+glamor-tied necks. Who the fuck’s got time for a red carpeted screen-timed orgy these days?!

Woche Der Kritik put on a fascinating ‘B-side’ event at the Volksbühne called Intensive Care Cinema – with “A Dose of Schlingensief Please – Or Why the World Cannot Be Saved with Polite Art” – a night of debates, lectures and films. And a timely screening of “Die Deutsche Kettensäger Massakre” (1990).

For those unfamiliar, and for those who might have forgotten, its potent transgression, it remains an unfathomable specimen of cinema. A raw primal scream from the Terrible Kid from Munich, assessing his roots + times and lingering + still-abundant fascist misery… while injecting his spectacular + prescient id-fueled projections… in the freshly reunited sausage-making of a great freak Frankenstein Nation. It’s hilarious ! And still such a precious scalpel for our alienated filmic times! Even if you can’t stand splatter genre, and we can’t. This is something else; This is an art weapon! Schlingensief really knew how to throw films like punches. But let’s not get too nostalgic, the likelihood that trash-genre films and any one wild provocateur is going to save us now, is just Film Biz People, who are probably trying to sell us something.

But to remember … In comparison to Wenders… and not that one HAS TO compare artists, but to peel your eyes off of the institutionalized memorabilia ( of Road – Kill – Movies ) for a moment… Schlingensief’s film from nearly the same time… is the work of a realtime semiotic-guerrila ( Umberto Eco’s term for culture jamming ), it’s like stealing into the Goethe Institute’s meeting with Helmut Kohl and protege Angela Merkel, the German Tourist Büro and The National Film Board… and having Udo Kier do a power-point on cannibalism, while his hair is on fire !


One of the stranger, funnier and lucid moments of the evening was in fact when special guest Udo, who drunkenly gushed a little too much and too long about all his brushes with director greatness… Fassbinder, Lars van Trier, Wenders, Schlingensief, etc….  What a Life ! … And then he rambled on (and repeated himself ) that these were filmmakers who could not make a bad film, and someone in the audience had enough of the schmooze and nonsense (of a lush), and blurted out:

“Wenders made ALOT of terrible films ! “

You have to love the Btropolis attitude that doesn’t tolerate panderers and bullshitters, who have over-used their pedestals ( and free drink coupons ).

But don’t worry Udo, we still love you ! … One of the most incredible freaks of underground cinema celebrity-dom…  and, even if your remake of Fritz Lang’s M… sounds like a furry indigestible thin-wafer mint … made-for-TV+Netflix series :)

Back to the plot…

We are still fond of Wenders’ unique + prolific left-of-mainstream cinema , arts+culture, but he is hardly a deeply engaged political fighter and certainly no Enfant Terrible. For these chilling times, you might even say he’s a bit of a cultural butter knife, and buttering alot of his own bread. His Wim Wender Stiftung is mostly set up to preserve and promote his own work + legacy, and while it does support new talent, whether or not this is really taking some necessary risks is a viable question. One will probably have to always push – now more than ever – comfortable celebrities to invest in…  and/or give their industry weight … to radical new approaches in our challenging times !

BTW, disclaimer, we are STILL waiting to hear back after writing to them about CiTIZEN KiNO, but we have to admit our letter wasn’t so spectacle + entertainment industry friendly :) Perhaps we’ll post it here, if we get requests to be TRANSPARENT … haha.


Back to The Chicken Wings …

Yeah, it’s a classic of the New German Cinema now, of course, as it should be ! But if we really wanted to pick it apart, there’s a long list of things that will forever irk us about this film ! … It’s all quaint, sentimental, romantic, fotogenic… a cinematography meisterwerk, a poetic innovation… but it meanders through those oppressive Cold War West and East Berlin times so much like a “Wessie” tourist. If ya wanna know what it was really like in Berlin those days, first of all don’t expect it to be narrated by 2 well-established white male German angels… and hanging around like expat hipsters pal-ing with the impressively-self-absorbed and self-indulgent indie rock celebs of the time. The Bauchnabel ( bellybutton ) Kunst crooners. Couldn’t he have at least given the nod ( and boost ) to another band from the homegrown scene ?! How many people have seen this film and would recognize the band name “Sprung Aus Der Wolken” ( i.e. Jochen Arbeit), whose musik is also in the soundtrack, but do not appear in the film ?! For example.

And it’s ashame how the film took the easy way out, and failed to take any harder views and impressions of and/or sympathies with life and The Wall and those from the east-side. No real comment on an unprecedented divided city and that still palpable and volatile faultline of western Capitalism vs. Soviet-communism, and all of us marooned and/or squeezed on an urban desert island trapped between the two vicious and oppressive beasts of 20th century errors.  … And if we gave it the Bechdel Test of ethnic minority inhabitants of the city,  there is little-to-no voice though ok, we do get a brief unusual monologue ( the whole film is monologue only ) of an immigrant ( white ) circus performer, though mostly in relation to her loneliness and her western angel suitor, who will soon appear.

There’s much more to say, maybe we’ll come back to add more…

But we’ll leave you with this last rant…

What the hell went wrong with that tedious concluding scene !? … Peter Handke, surely you didn’t leave us with THat poorly shot and cheesy mess of a final scene / script ?! Our theory is that Wim had to wrap it up … went way over budget…. and had to stitch it up before he really knew how to reach The End. One of these days someone will have to ask him: What the hell happened !?

Btw, Wings Of Desire will be screening this week at Lichtblick Kino ! … Have a look, revisit this meisterwerk with XLT analyst eyes…. and share your own misgivings … praises… and/or theories about the lamest of closing scenes of an otherwise mostly beautiful Magical Kingdom film ride.


And another little personal footnote… It’s still not possible to cross this bridge and NOT have tears well up in our eyes… ( thinking of this scene )…  the power of cinema is indeed a deep mysterious force in our lives !

And one last treat for all you wannabe transgressional black riders:

We are now semi-seriously considering writing to Nick DenBoer and Davy Force who made the short “The Chickening” ( which we were lucky to stumble on at Interfilm a couple years ago at a packed Volksbuhne screening ). You can get a taste of its hilarious Shining remix / jam HERE at Uproxx. We’d like to pitch the idea of another parody / sequel… Any FUNDERS out there ?!!

to be cont. ?!

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