Der Angriff der Gegenwart auf die übrige Zeit

19 December, 2018 - 20:00
STUK, Leuven

Alexander Kluge is a German writer of both fiction and non-fiction and a prominent filmmaker and public intellectual. His oeuvre for video and film is enormously expansive and diverse. He started his career in film as a collaborator of Fritz Lang on The Tiger of Eschnapur (1959) and subsequently became one of the most influential members of the New German Cinema in the sixties. In 1978, together with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Edgar Reitz and Werner Schlöndorff, Kluge made Autumn in Germany, about the terrorist attacks of the seventies. From the eighties onwards, Kluge has been creating work for television, amongst which documentaries about German history, interviews with scientists, authors and philosophers, and experimental persiflages of historical figures such as Adolf Hitler. More recently, Kluge has created video installations for a museal context.    

Kluges work for film and video is motivated by the desire for an alternative public sphere in which the living existence of working man can be made visible. A running thread in his work is the idea that “human beings are in essence not interested in reality” and that, for that reason, the creation of fiction and “counter-histories” constitutes the ultimate form of political resistance.    

During this evening in STUK Kluge’s work will be introduced by Stéphane Symons and Bart Philipsen, followed by a screening of Der Angriff der Gegenwart auf die übrige Zeit.    


German spoken, English subtitles


In collaboration with Goethe-Institut.

The screening is organised by STUK and Courtisane, in collaboration with the Lieven Gevaert Centre, the Institute of Philosophy (KU Leuven) and the Research Group German Literature, Fac. of Arts (KU Leuven).

Der Angriff der Gegenwart auf die übrige Zeit

Alexander Kluge

"Alexander Kluge's films comprise some of the most thought-provoking, original works to come out of the New German Cinema. He is noted for his use of complex narrative structure, innovatively combining disparate elements. In Der Angriff der Gegenwart auf die übrige Zeit (The Assault of the Present Upon the Rest of Time), Kluge continues his fascination with history, culture and cinema as he examines the close of the twentieth century. Opening with a production of Verdi's Tosca, he sets up a contrast between the treatment of moral and aesthetic issues in the nineteenth century, and their examination in the cinema. Several stories are juxtaposed, creating a filmic essay, a montage of ideas and reflections on a present which affects our perceptions of both the past and the future. At the center, serving perhaps as a metaphor both for his film and for cinema, is the story of a director who goes blind while working on his latest film. He continues working, his head full of images, trying to create what he cannot see." (Kathy Geritz)


“We speak about the opera of the 19th century; it is considered the summit of dramatic art. In the film Die Mach der Gefühle (The Power of Emotion), opera was likened to a "power plant of emotions." The film Carmen by Carlos Saura has shown that such older forms of dramatic art tap certain currents in spectators; this is something we did not know before. Bound up with our own century is another "power plant of emotions" - the cinema. Presumably, in the next century, beginning sixteen years from now, we will call it the cinema of the 20th century. This art form is ninety years old - a love affair of the century. The cinema consists of screening rooms, movie palaces, theaters on the front-lines, as well as many other gathering places, wherever films are shown for money. It also consists of a series of fascinating technical inventions which, though very elementary compared with the capabilities of electronics, all have to do with with the construction of a time machine. This cinema tells stories and it has produced artistic figures [Kunstfiguren] and idols. Obviously, this medium intrigues me. The present film project deals
(1) with elements of cinema;
(2) with the illusion of the city;
(3) with people acting in the city who have all kinds of things moving through their heads: personal experiences, notions about cinema, the reality of the city. 

The stylistic link, and simultaneously the basis for a certain comic dimension corresponding to the seriousness of the situation, is the category of time. Cinematic time, the "condensed dramatic time of cities," a lifetime - wrestling with time obviously occupies the course of our lives.”

Alexander Kluge, Der Angriff der Gegenwart auf die übrige Zeit (Frankfurt am Main: Syndikat Autoren und Verlagsgesellschaft, 1985)