Thomas Arslan, 2024 © n.b.k. / Jens Ziehe

Thomas Arslan

Jun 8, 2024 – Aug 4, 2024

Ground Floor

Curator: Marius Babias

Traversing spaces and capturing what is found are the starting points and requirements for the work of filmmaker Thomas Arslan. Through precisely and sensitively composed imagery, Arslan traces individual lives and fragile identities. Many of his narratives explore moments of upheaval and transformation since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 – the focus of this exhibition project at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.). The changing city is so closely intertwined with the cinematic characters that it serves not merely as a backdrop but as a protagonist itself. Featuring video projections, storyboards, archival material, and new works presented for the first time, this exhibition is the first overview worldwide of Arslan’s oeuvre. In conjunction with the exhibition, the director’s complete filmography will be presented in cooperation with Kino Arsenal and accompanied by discussions with film experts and guests.


Film program –  A Retrospective of Thomas Arslan’s Filmography

Arsenal presents a retrospective of Thomas Arslan’s filmography, featuring early short films from his days as a student at the DFFB (German Film and Television Academy Berlin), the Berlin trilogy about Kottbusser Tor in Berlin-Kreuzberg, a documentary voyage through Turkey, and his ventures into genre cinema, including gangster films and a western. The program also delves into the significant film aesthetic traditions that have influenced Arslan’s work, with insights provided by introductions and discussions with the filmmaker and numerous guests.

Thomas Arslan (*1962 in Braunschweig, lives in Berlin) gained prominence for his Berlin trilogy Geschwister – Kardeşler (Brothers and Sisters, 1997), Dealer (1999), and Der schöne Tag (A Fine Day, 2001), which focus on the lives of young German-Turks in Berlin. Arslan has taken part in the Berlinale several times, and in 2017, his road movie Helle Nächte (Bright Nights) won the Silver Bear for “Best Actor” (Georg Friedrich). Burnt Earth (2024), the sequel to his thriller In the Shadows (2010), premiered at the Berlinale in 2024. His repertoire includes Mach die Musik leiser (Turn Down the Music, 1994), Ferien (Vacation, 2007), Aus der Ferne (From Far Away, 2006), and Gold (2013). Arslan’s contributions to cinema were showcased in the extensive retrospective The Berlin School: Films from the Berlin School at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2013). Arslan has served as a professor of narrative film at the Berlin University of the Arts since 2007.