Hartmut Bitomsky
21 October 2016

Temporary Gallery @ Filmclub 813


Screening to the film series "Screening Room", selected and introduced by Arne Schmitt and in cooperation with Kölnischer Kunstverein

Hartmut Bitomsky:
Highway 40 West. Reise in Amerika, 1980/81, 180 min
, 35mm

"Highway 40 West" (1980/81) is the first of a series of documentaries by Hartmut Bitomsky (born 1942 in Bremen) which brought him international fame. Each of these films is dedicated to both, a specific and title-giving object and its historical-critical analysis. Such as in "Highway 40 West": For a time span of 169 minutes, the film shows Bitomsky’s emblematic US-road trip with a rented car on the eponymous road number 40, crossing the country from East to West. From early travel routes of the "Native Americans" to the trails of early colonizers, this street is loaded with American history - and with the present ruins of the American dream, which Bitomsky indulgingly captures on film. He himself appears as actor/author, conducting innumerable interviews, shooting the landscape, the diners and hotels - and his sonorous narrator’s voice reviews what is seen, and tries to understand and make it understandable.

Hartmut Bitomsky studied at the dffb (German Film and Television Academy, Berlin) and was expelled because of political activities in 1968. After teaching at CalArts in Los Angeles, he returned to the dffb and became its director from 2006-2008. Beside his profession as editor of the German film journal "Filmkritik" and his numerous publications on film theory and film history, he gained recognition with the documentaries of the so-called "Deutschlandtrilogie" ("German Trilogy"). Two of his last and most renowned films are "B-52" (2001) and "Staub" ("Dust", 2007). Arne Schmitt is a visual artist and lives in Cologne. He studied photography in Leipzig and Brussels and by means of image and text he examines the historical and societal connections of architecture.

Funding and Support

Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen


Hartmut Bitomsky: Highway 40 West. Highway 40 West. Reise in Amerika, 1980/81
Courtesy by the Arsenal Berlin