Film Season: City, Religion, Capitalism

Turning Points Of Civilization

An event hosted by Theatrum Mundi

Film screening and discussion hosted by Theatrum Mundi in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery and Goethe-Institut London

Alexander Kluge and Richard Sennett
Wednesday 1 October – Sunday 5 October 2014

City, Religion, Capitalism: Turning Points of Civilisation was a 5-day series of events dedicated to renowned German author and film director Alexander Kluge, one of the first auteurs of the New German Cinema. Alongside screenings of three new works introduced by the director, panel discussions curated by author and sociologist Richard Sennett brought together political, cultural and religious thinkers such as architect David Chipperfield and sociologists Saskia Sassen and Craig Calhoun.

City, Religion and Capitalism are three concepts essential to an understanding of contemporary societies. Inextricably linked with one another, they are central catalysts in the history of civilisation. In the panel discussions experts negotiated these fundamental structures, and traced decisive turning points in these three areas as they look back over the history of humanity.

Beginning with the first urban settlements in Mesopotamia, the historico-philosophical concept of the “axial age,” and early capitalism, they will draw connections to the present and future. What emerging challenges will cities around the world have to come to grips with? What is the complexion of our contemporary understanding of ourselves and the world when viewed against the backdrop of current religious conflicts? And where are today’s capitalist economic systems leading us?

On Sunday 5 October Alexander Kluge introduced his most ambitious film News from the Ideological Antiquity: Marx / Eisenstein / Das Kapital (2008), shown here in a shorter edit from its original 9 hour cut, a monumental avant-garde essay about the present status of the political; a complex, total work of art.

In a separate event on Wednesday, 1 October, organised by the Goethe-Institut London, Alexander Kluge presented his film News From the Great War, 1914 – 1918, his reflection on World War One and its far-reaching impact.  For details, click here.

Kluge’s book History and Obstinacy written in collaboration with social philosopher Oskar Negt was launched on 3 October 2014. For further details see

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