ImproVisions #1: Step across the Border

  • Improvisierte Musik
  • Diskurs

Film-Screening und Talk mit Fred Frith und Nicolas Humbert

Sun, 26.05.2024, 20:00 - 22:30 | exploratorium berlin

Fred Frith – Film-Still »Step across the Border«
© CineNomad

"In Step Across the Border two forms of artistic expression, improvised music and cinema direct, are interrelated. In both forms it is the moment that counts, the intuitive sense for what is happening in a space. Music and film come into existence out of an intense perception of the moment, not from the transformation of a preordained plan. In improvisation the plan is revealed only at the end. One finds it." (Nicolas Humbert & Werner Penzel)

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the exploratorium, we are screening the iconic 1990 improvisation film Step across the border, followed by an artist’s talk with protagonist Fred Frith and director Nicolas Humbert. Together with his co-director Werner Penzel, he accompanied the multi-instrumentalist Fred Frith to various locations in the late 1980s – from New York to Europe and Japan. His musical encounters, as well as everyday urban scenes and landscape shots, provide the material for a masterful and tongue-in-cheek black-and-white discourse on the spirit of music and filmmaking.

Fred Frith, John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, Cyro Battista, Iva Bittová, Bob Ostertag, Joey Baron, Jonas Mekas, Robert Frank – all of them and many more artists are united here in this unique and award-winning celluloid improvisation about rhythm, visual pleasure and joie de vivre. Concert footage, interviews in shabby hotel rooms and tracking shots through metropolises like New York and Tokyo combine to create a compelling sonic journey. The music and images are independent, neither subservient to the other, yet there are overlaps that are sometimes funny, sometimes absurd, sometimes simply beautiful – like the cornfields that sway in the wind for a magical moment to the rhythm of Frith’s improvisation.

In conversation with Mathias Maschat, Fred Frith and Nicolas Humbert talk about the making of the film, its background, its aesthetics and its impact.

ImproVisions #1: Step across the border also marks the beginning of a new series at the Denkraum at exploratorium, conceived in view of the symposium Filming Improvisation – Improvising with Film at the beginning of February 2025.

Program Teil 1

Film-Screening »Step across the Border – A ninety minute celluloid improvisation«

  • Nicolas Humbert & Werner Penzel | Regie
  • Fred Frith & friends | Musik

Program Teil 2

Gespräch mit Fred Frith und Nicolas Humbert

  • Fred Frith | Gast
  • Nicolas Humbert | Gast
  • Mathias Maschat | Moderation


  • Sun, 26.05.2024, 20:00 - 22:30
  • Break:
  • To access the box office and the concert hall, please use entrance G (gastronomy).