Keynote 1 – Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 7:00p.m.

Daniela Berghahn (London)

Far-flung Families in Film

The Diasporic Family in Contemporary European Cinema

Filmic constructions of diasporic families are an important contribution to controversial socio-political discussions on immigration, ethnic diversity and the success or failure of multi-cultural societies by either confirming or vehemently questioning prevailing media images. As cinema often indirectly portrays social conflicts and historical transitions by means of family stories, the diasporic family on screen symbolizes the ambivalences European societies display in reaction to a growing ethnic diversity.

This keynote examines the filmic portraits of families from a migrant background and proves that experiencing transnational mobility is the most significant coordinate the diversity of the diasporic family is located on. Because diasporic identities are mainly spatially coded, these films portray families in transition: they cross national and symbolic borders by travelling from and to their “homeland” in their search for their cultural identity. Thus, they provide explanatory models for the specific dynamics within the diasporic family and its dynamic relationship between the country of origin and the country of residence.

Daniela Berghahn is Professor of Film Studies at the Department of Media Arts and Associate Dean for Research at the University of London, Royal Holloway College. Her research focus lies on German post-war cinema as well as diasporic and transnational cinema.

* Talk will be held in German.

Keynote 2 – Thursday, May 9th, 2019, 4:30p.m.

Annette Brauerhoch (Paderborn)

Dismantlings, Re-enactments

Family, History and Filmic Forms

A baby screams relentlessly, a fridge door’s snaps shut loudly, a man leaves the house. “He’s mad, because I am here,” says Wanda, the stray, who abandons children and husband and spends the night on the couch: she does not fit into this ensemble that is pathetic but forms a complete family. (Wanda, dir.: Barbara Loden, USA 1970)

In the 70s and 80s of the 20th century, a new generation of film makers who allied and identified with the goals of the new feminist movement examined family structures as repressive forms of cohabitation. Immanently, not just role models and forms of cohabitation are being analyzed but film genres and their reproductions of family and family portraits, too. Home movies, the format that mainly supported patriarchal family portraits, often—and not just in the experimental field—have been the medium used for de-familiarizations of family spaces. Feature films trace the role of (political) history for family associations and the special role inner and outer images have in it. Analyzing repressive social forms of cohabitation hence is linked to filmic objectives: with the creation of different temporalities and new filmic spaces exposing female experiences in family structures.

Annette Brauerhoch is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Paderborn, long-term co-publisher of “Frauen und Film” (Women and Film) and initiator of the 16mm-experimental film collection of films by women filmmakers at the University of Paderborn.

* Talk will be held in German.

Archive Project – Friday, May 10th, 2019, 04:30 p.m.

Ivan and His Brothers

16mm-films of the Illich Family (1936–42)

Michael Loebenstein and Ingo Zechner show previously unknown film material from the teenage years of former Bremen professor Ivan Illich. This material is an exceptional discovery. It includes exclusive recordings from a private perspective under two dictatorships and has only recently been handed over to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. by Ivan Illich’s niece Yvonne Illich. After having been historically processed, it is now being presented to a wider public for the first time. The selected archive material will be presented with short introductions and discussed with Yvonne Illich, Lindsay Zarwell and Michaela Scharf.

Michael Loebenstein, film historian and curator, is director of the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna. From 2011–2017, he was chief executive officer at the National Film and Sound Archive in Australia.

Ingo Zechner, historian and philosopher, is director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History (LBIDH) in Vienna. From 2003–2008, he was director of the Israelite Cult Community Vienna office for Jews persecuted by the Nazis and was heading the project  “Ephemeral Films: National Socialism in Austria” together with Michael Loebenstein from 2011–2016.

Yvonne Illich is the daughter of Ivan’s brother Sascha Illich. She is in charge of the family history’s reconstruction.

Michaela Scharf is a historian and has been working as a research associate at the LBIDH since 2010. In her dissertation, she analyzes the relationship of politics and private life in Austrian amateur films from the Nazi era.  

Lindsay Zarwell has been working as a film archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. since 2000.

Ivan Illich, born 1929 in Vienna and died in 2002 in Bremen, Roman Catholic priest, theologian, philosopher and author, grew up in Vienna together with his  two-years younger twin brothers Sascha and Micha. From 1932 until their escape from the Nazis to Italy the three brothers lived with their mother in their grandfather Friedrich Regenstreif’s mansion. The films, made by their mother, feature their sheltered childhood, the mansion Regenstreif in Vienna Pötzleinsdorf (“Our Pötz”), the bourgeois milieu and the sudden impact of political reality: on 16mms, in black and white and in color, carefully edited and equipped with titles and subtitles. Ellen Rose Illich, née Regenstreif, pseudonym Maexie, christened Lutheran, married to a Catholic, but originating from a Jewish family: she is the focal point of a family history that is being re-written two generations later with her family films: as a Jewish family history.

After eventful stations such as the Vatican, New York, Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Berlin, Ivan Illich was a visiting professor at the University of Bremen’s Faculty for Pedagogy and Educational Sciences from 1991 until his death in 2002. He had a close personal relationship with Johannes Beck and other personalities from the relatively young university. In 1998 he was awarded the renowned Kultur- und Friedenspreis der Villa Ichon in Bremen (Cultural and Peace Prize of the Ichon Villa).

In cooperation with the Austrian Film Museum, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History Vienna, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington D.C. and the EU Horizon 2020 project Visual History of the Holocaust: Rethinking Curation in the Digital Age.

* Presentation and discussion in English.