Artists under the Circus Dome

Wednesday, 5 February

Artists under the Circus Dome

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ARTISTS UNDER THE CIRCUS DOME  1968 (Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos) Directed by Alexander Kluge 104 minutes In German with English subtitles

Alexander Kluge was perhaps the major director that kicked off the New German Cinema of the 1960s. The German film industry at the time was lazy and unimaginative, and it wasn't easy to break the monopoly hold that certain powerful people had on film production and distribution. After knocking out his groundbreaking debut flick Yesterday's Girl, he jumped into this project, which in a way explores the conflict between an artist's vision and the commercial marketplace.

This film shows how in the late 60s, the German New Wave was attempting to grapple with real philosophical thoughts and social problems, especially in dealing with history. Alexander Kluge had already entered narrative cinema with his first movie, but here he ups the ante by exploring a new kind of filmmaking - one that has a story, but also experiments with the form. As the narrative unravels, the director has no qualms about using documentary inserts or even quoting philosophy.

Our main protagonist Leni Peickert is a woman who wants to start a circus... but not just any routine circus, a bag of cheap tricks. What she wants to build is a real circus - a place of dreams. Isn't that what a circus is supposed to be? The film follows her struggles to create alternatives and collective solutions. And since Kluge also had the same dream with cinema, this work can be seen as the director's own statement about filmmaking within a system where everything is geared towards mass consumption. Director Kluge says this movie was also his reflection on the 1968 protest movement and student demonstrations. As a side note: a flick like this also reveals how times have radically changed. In the 60s, before Europe was Americanized, things like philosophy, poetry, social engagement and literature were as important as pop music and Disney is today.

This movie won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1968, and provoked such extreme reactions that it ignited a scandal and closed down the Berlin Film Festival.

Date & Time: 

Wednesday, 5 February, 2020 - 19:30


  • film


  • free
  • 3-5 €
Goethe Institute
1017 CA Amsterdam

Weekly programme of film screenings in a circuit of underground / self-organised venues. Forgotten movies that should have been classics, neglected flics, lesser-known gems, always with a personal introduction by the programmer. All films in English, or with English subtitles.


  • film

opening times: 

mostly Sunday to Thursday at about 7 different underground locations.