Tate and the British Film Institute (bfi) are pleased to announce a new partnership for 2003. Both organisations hold major national collections and connections between the two will be explored in a series of new film seasons, which showcase material from the bfi’s collection, at Tate’s two London galleries.
The bfi holds the largest collection of film and television titles in Europe, including British and foreign feature films, early and silent movies, documentaries, short films, news and advertising footage, amateur and experimental films, animation and television programmes. To encourage greater understanding and appreciation of film, the bfi aims to give as many people as possible access to these collections. Working with Tate will present opportunities for new audiences to see this outstanding material from a fresh angle.
Tate is responsible for the National Collection of British Art, which is displayed primarily at Tate Britain, and the National Collection of International Modern art from 1900, housed primarily at Tate Modern. This important collaboration enables Tate to provide further context to these Collections for its many visitors. The partnership indicates Tate’s increasing interest in a wider cultural arena. While both galleries have previously shown film, working with the bfi in developing jointly curated film seasons is a radical new venture for Tate.
The partnership launches at Tate Britain where programmes will be screened on the first Sunday of every month. Films of Britain begins the series with a historical flavour, providing a taste of the rich diversity of British documentary and non-fiction film, dating from the 1890s to the present day, held by the bfi National Film and Television Archive. The first screening (2 February) will present titles from the acclaimed collection of British Transport Films, while the second (2 March) offers fascinating glimpses of the changing face of work and leisure in industrial Britain. The programme provides an opportunity to see material that is rarely seen in commercial or other film venues.
The first season at Tate Modern (14 February - 4 April) coincides with the forthcoming major exhibition Max Beckmann. Life is a Cabaret aims to illuminate the wider cultural context of his work with films ranging from classics of German silent cinema (some with live music) to the work of German émigrés in Hollywood. Historical events which had a powerful impact on Beckmann also left their mark on German and world cinema, as instanced by films such as Heinz Paul’s rarely-screened World War I drama The Other Side (a German version of R. C. Sherriff’s play Journey’s End), Margarethe von Trotta’s portrait of the passionate revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, and Bob Fosse’s Cabaret, set in 30s Berlin with Nazism on the rise.