I was in my early twenties and relatively new to Berlin. Back then, there was that small indie cinema on Leipziger Strasse on the ground floor of one of the high-rise buildings in the area, called Checkpoint Kino. It was neither my first film in Berlin nor my favourite cinema, but this particular movie night made a lasting impression on me.
That night, I saw Abel Ferrera’s rape revenge film Ms .45, and wow! I was flabbergasted. I’d never seen anything like it before. I think it was one of the first films that made me think about how sexualised violence was treated on screen and the rape revenge genre.
It was one of the first films that made me think about how sexualised violence was treated on screen
The main character’s rampage towards the end of the film, her violence and her mercilessness were part of a spectacular, elaborate mise-en-scène: a celebration of female misbehaviour in a context in which female characters were so often denied depth, inner conflict and contradictions. I could relate to this filmic outburst on a very visceral level, even though I of course know that violence will not solve sexism. To this day, I remember the feeling of watching the film and how impressed I was.
I also remember that the friend I went with was not as impressed as me… maybe because he wasn’t a 20-year-old girl and had never experienced being catcalled on a regular basis – something that many women have to deal with to this day.
- Checkpoint Kino The small cinema ran from 1974 to 2003. Located on the ground floor of a housing block on Leipziger Straße, it comprised a little cash desk and a snack bar in the foyer, and a single screening room with 44 seats. Usually, everything was run by one person, the projectionist.