Courtisane 2017: Peter Nestler #2

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 19:30 to 21:15
Sphinx Cinema, Ghent


Wie macht man Glas (Handwerklich) (Peter Nestler & Zsóka Nestler, 1970) - 24’

How to Make Glass (Manually) is part of a series of educational films for television intended for young audiences. Directed by Peter and Zsóka Nestler, the series was dedicated to the history and processes behind the making of objects (paper, printing books, fabrics and so on), highlighting the differences between artisanal and industrial production and the labour and economic relations involved in each of these methods of producing things. (Courtisane)

These films coincide with what Sergei Tretyakov postulated with regard to literature in his 1929 essay, ‘The Biography of the Object’: “In the biography of the object, we can view class struggle synoptically at all stages of the production process... On the object’s conveyer belt, the revolution is heard as more resolute, more convincing, and as a mass phenomenon. For the masses necessarily share in the biography of the object. Thus: not the individual person moving through a system of objects, but the object proceeding through the system of people”. (Jörg Huber)


Ausländer: Teil 1 – Schiffe und Kanonen (Peter Nestler & Zsóka Nestler, 1976) - 45’

This is the first episode in a series about various immigrant groups in Sweden. The films provide historical and social background to the question of why these groups emigrated from their home countries. This episode focuses on Wallonia and its commercial relations with Sweden, on the history of armament and capital. The source of German Hanseatic power was largely due to a new type of boat, which could transport three times more cargo than the previous boat designs. Swedish customers freed themselves from foreign dependence by attracting foreigners of a different kind, mostly capital holders willing to invest heavily in Swedish industry. These business leaders enlisted manpower from Wallonia. In turn, this immigration, primarily of iron workers, laid the foundation for Sweden’s role as a future military and economic superpower. The iron cannons that were produced were sold for profit throughout Europe. (Courtisane)


Fos-Sur-Mer (Peter Nestler & Zsóka Nestler, 1972) - 24’

The city of Marseille, close to the estuary of the Rhône River, has long been recognized as an important transit port for all of Europe. This film is set against the backdrop of industrialization at Fos-sur-Mer, some 32 kilometres northwest of Marseille. It gives an account of the port’s development since the late 1960s. In addition, Fos-sur-Mer recalls the poor living and working conditions of some 7,000 labourers working on this industrial site. (Courtisane)

Coke plants, blast furnaces, steelworks and the petrochemical industry are to be created here. Oil, liquid gas, cheap African ore and American coal are to be imported. The state finances the infrastructure: port, roads, electricity. An industrial city is built and the whole world is affected. A riverbed is cleared because rubble is needed as backfill. The earth is torn up for a pipeline. The Rhône is straightened, dammed up and expanded. Lorraine is shut down. The industry is spreading. Seven thousand workers are concentrated in camps. Unauthorized visitors are not allowed to enter the camps, and inmates cannot leave without difficulty. “This is an enormous project, a successful Common Market project, said one of the project managers”. (Hartmut Bitomsky)


In the presence of Peter Nestler


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