WED. NOV. 12, 2014 – 7:00 PM
Directed by Martin Persiel
Zeitgeist Northwest is excited to introduce our PORTLAND GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL – Monthly Film Series. We will show a variety of of GERMAN or GERMAN-language films once a month at the Clinton Street Theater. In addition to the annual Portland German Film Festival, audiences will now have a chance to see German or German-language films on a regular basis. All films are with English subtitles.
Starting in 2015, the films will be screened every second Wednesday of the month.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, Zeitgeist Northwest is showing This Ain’t California in collaboration with the German Program in the School of Language, Culture and Society at Oregon State University.
This Ain’t California is a film about the skate-boarding scene in the old East Germany of the 80ies, and about the ways how this scene shaped the anti-socialist mind-set that ultimately led to the fall of the Berlin wall. Martin Persiel’s film elicited furious debate after its premiere in 2012. Filmed as a mockumentary, intertwining real documentary footage from the GDR with staged scenes with actors re-enacting the remembered past, it leaves the viewer often guessing what is history and what is fantasy while ostensibly watching a documentary movie.
That said, the film is a moving and humorous tribute to a group of friends who challenged the authoritarian system of the old GDR and managed to adopt a life style in clear opposition to the tenets of a socialist state. Told across a span of almost 30 years we can follow the (composite) characters of legendary skating figures, and learn much about life in a country that was locked off to the West for decades until 1989. While depicting the constraints and conflicts imposed by a socialist government, the movie avoids to openly condemn the political system. Instead the film provides enough footage to reveal the bureaucratic absurdities and ridiculous narrow-mindedness of the GDR functionaries in a way that the audience can judge for itself. More importantly it provides footage of major skate boarding competitions in the 80ies to which only select groups had access. Interviews and remembrances convey the personal experiences of people who just entered adulthood when their world turned upside down with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The film provides a fresh perspective and much insight into both a political and a skate boarding culture that many of us have little access to.