Zur Situation der Frau

In November 1973, the first international women's film conference took place at the old Arsenal in Welserstraße and the primary school opposite. It was organized by Filmmakers Claudia von Alemann and Helke Sander, who presented 45 films from seven countries–this was tantamount to a pioneering achievement. They invited 250 participants who were active in women's groups. On top of that, women who worked in the media came and thanks to the conference/festival they were able to build up a network for the first time. The same was true for the filmmakers. Most screenings were premieres and thus the event can also be considered to be the first women's film festival in the Europe, with films made by and about women. There had never been a women's film festival of this size before. However, in the forefront was the establishment of a public discourse. The issues examined were “Women in the labor struggle, women in the depiction of the media, women and Paragraph 218, sexuality, role behavior, the women's movement in Europe and the US.” Films of all lengths and genres that picked up on these themes critically were invited.The brochure that was published at the time Zur Situation der Frau contained valuable film and literature tips and presented a work and learning program.

One of the films in the program was The Woman's Film (Newsreel #55, USA 1970). It was made entirely by women from San Francisco Newsreel. It was a collective effort between the women behind the camera and those in front of it. The script itself was written from preliminary interviews with women in the film. Their participation, their criticism, and approval were sought at various stages of production.

We are showing the 16mm print of the Arsenal archive. The German subtitles of this print are out of sync, a failure that leads to questions about cultural translation.

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus is co-Director of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art (with Milena Gregor and Birgit Kohler) and Member of the selection committee of the Berlinale Forum. In 2006 she co-founded the Berlinale program Forum Expanded (with Anselm Franke). Since 1994 she curates film retrospectives and exhibitions, among them LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in A Rented World (2009, with Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel) and A Paradise Built in Hell at Kunstverein Hamburg (2014, with Betti-na Steinbrügge). Since 2010 she regularly travels to Cairo where she works on several cinema and research projects. From 2011-2013 she curated the project Living Archive – Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice which turned into the on-going project Living Archive since the Arsenal Film Archive moved to silent green Kulturquartier in 2015, where she also co-curates the long-term research and exhibition project Film Feld Forschung (with Bettina Ellerkamp and Jörg Heitmann).