Welcome to the CARMAH Kino!

From 2019 to 2020, Debbie Onuoha organised the CARMAH Kino with events showing and discussing films relating to museums and heritage.

January 28, 2020: El Mar La Mar (2017)

Our final screening on walls took us to the Sonoran Dessert on the US-Mexico border to hear and see the stories of people involved in difficult border crossings today.

El Mar la Mar | dirs. Joshua Bonetta and JP Sniadecki | USA | 2017 | 94'

An immersive and enthralling journey through the Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexico border, EL MAR LA MAR weaves together harrowing oral histories from the area with hand-processed 16mm images of flora, fauna and items left behind by travelers.” —The Cinema Guild

January 14, 2020: Rabbit à la Berlin (2009)

Our third screening examined the impacts of the Berlin Wall on the lives of people and animals.

Rabbit a la Berlin | dir. Batrosz Konopka | Germany and Poland | 2009 | 52'

“The untold story about wild rabbits which lived between the Berlin Walls. For 28 years Death Zone was their safe home. Full of grass, no predators, guards protecting them from human disturbance. They were closed but safe and happy. Their population quickly grew up to thousands. Guards started to remove them. But rabbits survived and stayed there. Unfortunately, for them, one day the wall fell down. Rabbits had to abandon comfortable system. They moved to West Berlin and have been living there in a few colonies since then – deprived of food, run over by cars, not knowing how to get around the new world. And they are still learning how to live in the free world, same as we – the citizens of Eastern Europe. This film takes you from rabbits to humans, from laughter to the real world.” —DAfilms

December 11, 2019: Mauern 2.0 (2013)

Our second session of the semester explored the fall of the Berlin wall and its impact on the lives of people of colour. This film is in German, with English subtitles.

Mauern 2.0 | dir. Jana König, Elisabeth Steffen & Inga Turczyn | Germany | 2013 | 30'

The starting point for the project Walls 2.0 is the film Duvarlar / Walls / walls by Can Candan. He documents migrant perspectives, especially from the Turkish community, on the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification in 1990-91. The film Mauern 2.0 asks some protagonists of the film again: How do you see topics like racism, nationalism and economic exploitation today? Are there new ‘walls’? Walls 2.0 draws more circles and also asks for prospects from the eastern part of the city. We update past arguments for the present and ask for correspondences and constellations. Finally, we ask the inevitable question: What is racism today?

November 27, 2019: Die Mauer ist uns auf den Kopf gefallen (2018)

Our first session of the semester explored the fall of the Berlin wall and its impact on the lives of women of colour. This film is in German, with English subtitles.

Die Mauer ist uns auf den Kopf gefallen | dir. Diane Izabiliza | Germany | 2018 | 40'

The fall of the Berlin Wall is firmly rooted in the collective memory: a time of upheaval whose consequences we can still feel today. While hegemonic historiography has built a one-sided narrative about this historic event, we have explored the perspective of Women of Color.

Lucía Muriel, Nivedita Prasad, Katja Kinder, Peggy Piesche and Nasrin Bassiri tell us impressively how they experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall. We learn a lot from the political and personal lives of the five protagonists. They report how they perceived (re) united Germany, analyze racist discourses and look at their resistant work. They draw parallels between today and then: for example, when they reflect on the debates about people seeking refuge in Germany (or Europe). The comparison of people fleeing with natural disasters remains an often used rhetorical remedy.

The turning point has shaped the activist and political work of the protagonists. They joined forces with other marginalized groups or found ways to address racism and sexism on their own. This resulted in the strengthening of Black Alliances between East and West, in book publications, feminist work for girls and women and in the founding of associations of and for migrant women.

June 3, 2019: Lobi Kuna (2018) and Palimpsest of the Africa Museum (2018)

Our fifth session was a double-bill on colonial histories in Belgium’s Africa Museum. Filmmaker Matthias de Groof joined us for a Q&A session after the screenings.

Lobi Kuna | dir. Matthias de Groof | Belgium | 2018 | 45‘

“When photographer Mekhar Kiyoso is in the Africa Museum for a shoot he becomes unsettled as the views through his lens reveal the macabre museum as a mausoleum of his cultural heritage. As he’s being possessed by the artefacts, he remembers being alienated from them. Lobi Kuna (which in Lingala means ‘the day after tomorrow’ as well as ‘the day before yesterday’) tells the story of his appropriation of the past in order to project himself into a future.”
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/272194649

Palimpsest of the Africa Museum | dirs. Matthias de Groof and Mona Mpembele | Belgium | 2018 | 75‘

“In 2013, the Royal Museum for Central Africa closes for renovation. Not only the building and the museum cabinets are in need of renewal: the spirit of the museum has to be brought into this century. In COMRAF, a board of advisers, the process of decolonization leads to fierce discussions.”
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/291927190

May 28, 2019: Herbarium (2013), World Wood Web (2017) and Havemos de Voltar (2017)

Our fourth session of the semester was a collection of short films. Each reenvisioned natural history in spaces such as museums, botanical gardens and forests.

Herbarium | dir. Barbara Visser | The Netherlands | 2013 | 8‘

‘Herbarium’ is a cinematographic observation based on the changes in the classification of plants. Going from classical taxonomy to genetic data-storage, Visser wonders what is left when the plant its separated from its physical features. What is a plant to us, without the sensation of smell, texture and its visual appearance? In a long abandoned tropical greenhouse formerly used by the biology faculty of Wageningen University, during a full moon night, the dry plants are reanimated, in a visual language where nature is shown as an artefact, devoid of any natural context. — IMDb

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/86852859

World Wood Web | dir. Ida Marie Gedbjerg | Belgium | 2017 | 12‘

“2713. The Internet has been taken over by a vast organic network forming the World Wood Web.This is the story about Gregorious Dubois who became a tree and discovered the World Wood Web on a cold December day.”

Read more on the filmmaker’s website

Havemos de Voltar (We Will Return) | dir. Kiluanji Kia Henda | Angola | 2017 | 18'

“In Kiluanji Kia Henda’s Havemos de Voltar, a historical artifact becomes sentient and refuses to be an object in the service of history, the mechanics of the colonial and post-independence identity become
indistinguishable.” —Adjective


May 14, 2019: Branco Sai, Preto Fica (White Out, Black In) (2014)

From Brazil, our third film of the semester blended past, present and future in an experimental exploration of how to deal with contentious histories.

Branco Sai, Preto Fica [White Out, Black In] | dir. Adirley Queirós | Brazil | 2014 | 93‘

“In this film based on a true story, director Adirley Queirós mixes documentary, science fiction and music and explodes all three of the familiar genres. An agent travels from the year 2073 to the present to examine Brazil’s destructive social development. He lands in Ceilândia, a satellite city of Brasilia. He meets the former musician Marquim and ex-dancer Sartana. Both are Afro-Brazilians and both have had to live with physical and mental injuries since a racially-motivated police attack on them in a club in 1986.” — Nuremberg Film Festival

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/103928871


April 30, 2019: The Destruction of Memory (2016)

For our second session we continued with the theme of the dissassembly of monuments, by looking at the destruction of cultural heritage as a form of political warfare in conflict zones.

The Destruction of Memory | dir. Tim Slade | Tim Slade | USA | 2016 | 81'

The Destruction of Memory
dir. Tim Slade | USA | 2016 | 81‘

The purposeful demolishment of buildings, books and art as part of war has wrought catastrophic results on every continent. Leading up to the destruction of historical cities such as Aleppo and Homs in Syria, this deep investigation spans over a period of more than 100 years. We take a close look at the devastation of cultural, religious and historical heritage as a means to erase collective memory and identity and gain new insight into how such crimes against humanity have been combatted in international politics. 

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/143061688

Following the screening, director Tim Slade will join us for a Q&A over skype.

April 16, 2019: The Fall of Lenin (2017) and Disgraced Monuments (1994)

For our first session of the 2019 summer semester, we watched two films about the fate of political monuments in post-Soviet states.


The Fall of Lenin | dir. Svitlana Shymko | Ukraine | 2017 | 11‘

“Ironic documentary film about the farewell to the phantoms of the USSR in Ukraine. The spiritual session with the ghost of Lenin guides us through our past, present and the future. The film presents the dawn and the twilight of idols, and the curious afterlife of history’s ghosts. “The Fall of Lenin” is inspired by laws adopted in 2015 by the Parliament of Ukraine, which condemn the Communist totalitarian regime and ban the use of its symbols.”
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/204761302


The Fall of Lenin. Svitlana Symko.

Disgraced Monuments | dirs. Laura Mulvey & Mark Lewis | UK | 1994 | 49‘

“Filmmakers Laura Mulvey and Mark Lewis use rare archival footage and interviews with artists, art historians, and museum directors to examine the fate of Soviet-era monuments during successive political regimes, from the Russian Revolution through the collapse of communism. Mulvey and Lewis highlight both the social relevance of these relics and the cyclical nature of history. Broadcast on Channel Four as part of the ‘Global Image’ series (1992-1994).” — Letterboxd