3/5 Chicago Screening - Hellmuth Costard's FOOTBALL AS NEVER BEFORE

From: Patrick Friel (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Feb 27 2010 - 14:49:46 PST

Missed getting this into the ³This Week in Avant-Garde² listing.

FRIDAY, MARCH 5 ­ 8:00pm
For the rest of the world, ³football² equals soccer and passions and
obsessions run deep. Itıs hard to imagine an American filmmaker focusing on
a single player for an entire game or match, but thatıs just what German
filmmaker Hellmuth Costard did in 1970 ­ filmed Manchester United star
George Best for an entire match (long before British artist Douglas Gordon
and Philippe Parreno made their 2006 variant ³Zidane: A 21st Century
FOOTBALL AS NEVER BEFORE (1970, 105 mins, 16mm on video, Germany) is
legendary among soccer aficionados and one of the great works of post-WWII
German cinema, but is little known here and rarely screened (no prints are
available in the U.S.). White Light Cinema is pleased to provide an
alternate sports-fix to baseball spring training.
Like the film, director Hellmuth Costard (1940-2000) is little known in the
U.S. He was part of the vibrant New German Cinema movement of the 1960s and
70s - which included Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders,
and others ­ that revitalized and revolutionized German film. Costard was
more of an avant-gardist than the better-known names of the period, and his
work is more often aligned with Alexander Kluge, Jean-Marie Straub and
Daniele Huillet, and Klaus Wyborny. His work ranges from experimental films,
allusive narratives, documentaries, childrenıs television and a childıs
storybook, to magazine cartoons.
³The sun shone on Old Trafford on 12th September 1970 as Manchester United
beat Coventry 2:0 in a league match. It was not an important victory; that
season Man Utd would only be also-rans in the race for the championship. But
a record was preserved of the match that is probably unique in the history
of film and television. Using eight 16mm cameras, Hellmuth Costard, one of
the most important experimental filmmakers in German cinema of the 60s and
70s, followed every move over the 90 minutes of the man in the red jersey
with the number 11 - traditionally associated with the conventional outside
left, but here worn by the mercurial George Best.² (Goethe Institut)
³The real Warholian moment of football cinema is Hellmuth Costardıs film
Fußball wie noch nie (Football as Never Before, 1971). A point of reference
for ZidaneŠ (Š), the film takes the famously charming George Best as its
subject and edits multiple camera views to produce a real-time portrait of
the player singled out during the course of an entire match. Lest we miss
the homoerotic subtext of football art (and football culture), the half-time
interval features a cruisey bit of filmmaking as we follow Best through a
narrow hallway and into what looks like the boot room. Best turns and faces
the camera for nearly three minutes. He holds our gaze as long as he can,
pursing his lips, looking away and then back in a seemingly overt homage to
the Warholian screen test. Best strikes a deal here with the camera,
inviting us to look at him when he takes the field again; shots of his
socks, his shoulders and his crotch seem to go on for ever.² (Jennifer
Doyle, Frieze)

This program screens Friday, March 5, 2010 at 8:00pm at The Nightingale
(1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.).
Admission: $7.00-10.00 sliding scale

Website: www.whitelightcinema.com

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.