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Lichter Focus 2013: CITY

There is abundant evidence for the thesis that the city invented cinema and cinema invented the city. The love story of film and the city goes back to the earliest days of the moving image. Movies are fascinated by the mechanical movement and the speed of the city, being at the same time aware of its dark sides – isolation, overflow of images and exclusion. Today more than ever film is the art that loves the city most. Frankfurt‘s international film festival LICHTER, taking place from March 19 to 24, dedicates this year‘s program to the city. A journey in 15 films from Tokyo to New York, from Naples to Recife. The city appears as a space enabling encounters, interactions, stories – and at the same time as a somewhat endangered habitat, that the filmmakers venture to protect. The film program will be accompanied by a series of lectures and debates with a the AGORA, a six-hour-long debate marathon hosted by renowned architect Arno Brandlhuber. The retrospective is dedicated to American director James Gray portraying his native New York City. Follow these recommendations or visit the screening schedule for the whole section.

»Gimme the Loot« (Spielfilm, USA 2012), Engl. OmeU, 81 min. Director: Adam Leon

Loot Sophia and Malcolm are the next big stars in Graffiti art – sadly nobody knows this yet. To change this, and to earn some respect in the scene, they decide to put their “tag” on one of New York’s trademarks, the New York Mets apple that appears after every home run hit at Shea Stadium. Standing between them and their fame is just 500 dollars, needed to bribe the night guard at the baseball stadium. An exciting journey begins, with lots of mistakes and de-viations. Adam Leon’s début film reveals his years spent learning from Woody Allen. Gimme the loot is one of the most light-hearted films about youth culture for a long time, simultane-ously a comedy and background social analysis. New York is shown simultaneously as a place of almost unlimited possibilities and a place of high social barriers.

Show: Wednesday, 20. March 2013, 20:00 p.m., Metropolis 12

»Neighboring Sounds« (Spielfilm, BRA 2011), Bras. OmeU, 131 min.Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho

SoundsLittle seems unusual in an unprepossessing, middle-class street in Recife in Brazil, apart from the now normal bars on windows and surveillance cameras. There is obviously no rational reason why a private security service should want to send its officers here. But while we fol-low the company’s resourceful boss as he convinces the residents of his offer, we learn the complicated and contradictory stories that make up this area of the city. They reach from the country’s violent past to the everyday problems of its middle class, and encompass these arcs in a strange, exciting, breathless film photographed in beautiful Cinemascope.

Show: Thursday, 21. March 2013, 20:30 p.m., Filmmuseum

L’âge atomique (Atomic Age) (Spielfilm, F 2012), Frz. OmU, 67 min. Director: Héléna Klotz

atomic Victor and Rainer are taking a train to Paris for an evening out. They want to celebrate and enjoy their lives and the excesses of the city. What they find is artificial nightclub beauty, drugs, aggression, violence and their own emotional frailty. They go from one disappointment to the next. We accompany them as they walk along the Seine – following their mostly sober-ing discoveries about the city and themselves. Their path leads them from Paris into a forest, where the calm and the moon put their friendship in a different light. L’âge atomique observes youth and relationships in the resonating cavity of the city. Héléna Klotz films her figures lov-ingly, secretly and honestly. We follow her on the search for their identity and their views of the world.

Show: Friday, 22. March 2013, 20:00 p.m., Hafenkino Offenbach

»Shanghai« (Spielfilm, IND 2012), Hindi OmeU, 120 min.Director: Dibakar Banerjee

ShanghaiThe ambitious Governor Madamji wants to turn the sleepy, provincial town of Bharat Nagar into the Indian Shanghai, a shiny city of offices and luxury apartments. That people get left behind is not a problem. When Dr. Ahmedi, a well-known critic of the project, is killed in a hit-and-run incident after an appearance in the town, the investigative ambition of the camer-aman Joginder stirs. On an accidentally recorded tape, he discovers evidence of the corrupt machinations behind the project. A racing, action thriller is the result, which is based on plot of the famous novel “Z” – filmed in 1969 by Costa-Gavras. With the bling of Bollywood and an associated amount of political commitment, Shanghai highlights the dark sides of Indian politics.

Show: Tuesday, 19. March 2013, 22:30 p.m., Metropolis 11

LICHTER takes place from March 19th to 24th, 2013 at several cinemas in Frankfurt/Germany.