Abwege

Abwege (PG)

Germany, 1928, dir. G W Pabst

Festival of the Future City/
Sun 20 October 2019

Abwege (PG)

Germany, 1928, dir. G W Pabst

Abwege
Sun 20 October 2019,

The affluent lawyer Thomas Beck neglects his wife Irene in favour of work and she embarks on a romance with a painter. Beck manages to prevent the pair from taking off to Vienna together, but in response, Irene throws herself wholeheartedly into Berlin’s nightlife.

G W Pabst, the great realist of Weimar-era cinema, uses a marital crisis to paint a shimmering portrait of society. Camerawork that is as unchained as Irene herself delves into a whirling world of luxury and vice, laying out drug use and prostitution both in the bohemian milieu and among the putative better set. And like the painter in the film, the camera is beguiled by Irene’s gaze as it caresses actress Brigitte Helm.

Wrapped in recherché robes and furs, Helm embodies a woman trapped in the gilded cage of marriage. And Irene’s attempt to flee is less of a threat to the continued existence of that institution than the ‘new woman’, with her bobbed hair and cigarette holder, who makes a fascinating appearance in the film.

Digitally restored by DCP Filmmuseum München and with live piano musical accompaniment by John Sweeney. The film will be introduced by film critic and historian Pamela Hutchinson.

This film is part of Festival of the Future City – an initiative of Festival of Ideas. Festival of the Future City takes place every two years in Bristol celebrating and debating the future of cities with talks, walks, debates, arts projects and new books. The 2019 Festival of the Future City includes classic utopian films about cities; cities in silent cinema; documentaries on New Towns, democracy, the housing crisis and the anthropocene in the series: Cities, Future Cities and Film. We are grateful to BFI for their support for this programme. See the rest of the Festival of the Future City film programme here.

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Further details of the 2019 Festival of the Future City programme are here.

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