The series brings together films that use documentation and montage in an attempt to revive relationships with people lost in the aftermath of the (geo)political rupture of 1989/90. Sibylle Schönemann's documentary Locked-Up Time (1990) is a piece of investigative research. Following the opening of the border, Schönemann travels from West to East Germany to find those who had been involved in her imprisonment and expulsion in the mid-1980s. In The Iron Age (1991), Thomas Heise resumes a DEFA film project about young people from the socialist model city Eisenhüttenstadt, which had been discontinued in the early 1980s. Angelika Levi's essay film Absent Present (2010) centers on the search for her friend Benji, who was brought to the GDR as a child in 1979 and deported to Namibia in 1990.
In cooperation with the Berlin Grant Program for Artistic Research
Anna Zett is an artist, writer, filmmaker, radio playwright and host of participatory scores for both voice and movement. In collaboration with choreographer Hermann Heisig, she is currently developing the post-socialist group improvisation Resonanz, supported by the Berlin Grant Program for Artistic Research.
Philipp Goll is a freelance writer and works as a research assistant in media studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt/Main. His publications include texts on filmic representations of the political upheaval in Poland in 1989 and the didactic practice of filmmaker Harun Farocki.
Filmmaker Sibylle Schönemann was arrested by the Stasi in the DDR in 1984 and released by the BRD a year later. She was denied both a farewell and an explanation for her imprisonment. After the opening of the border, Schönemann set out for the former East to find and question those who had imprisoned and guarded her at the time. Yet individual perpetrators are nowhere to be found. With honesty and vehemence, the film illuminates the mechanisms of collective irresponsibility.
Hannes Schönemann has been making documentaries and feature films for 50 years. His early films often show everyday life in the GDR without considering the ideological guidelines, which exposed him to the restrictive film policy. In Sibylle Schönemann’s Locked-up Time, which deals with the couple's imprisonment in 1985, he was involved as an advisor.
In 1981, Thomas Heise portrayed a group of four young people in Eisenhüttenstadt, but was unable to complete the film for political reasons. Ten years after the film “Anka and…” was discontinued, two of the protagonists took their own lives. The film follows encounters with their former friends in everyday yet visually powerful settings in Eisenhüttenstadt and Berlin, looking at the dreams and conflicts of the deceased as well as those who continued to live. A film as sober as it is harrowing about the search for meaning, violent experiences and lost futures.
Followed by a conversation with the hosts of the RESONANZ Assembly Anna Zett and Hermann Heisig
The essay film Absent Present centers on the filmmaker’s search for a missing friend. Benji was brought to the DDR from Namibia as a child in 1979 and sent back there in 1990 after German unification, where Levi met him during filming in 1991. Two years later, Benji returned to Europe and together with Levi, visited his former child home. Itself permanently in a state of travel, Levi’s film tests an aesthetic language sensitized to the visual orders of power. Absent Present is an associative and careful engagement with the border regimes of Europe.
Angelika Levi is a filmmaker, dramaturgist, editor and lecturer. Since 1985, Levi's films have been shown at international film festivals, in exhibitions and in cinemas and have won several awards. On 5th September her film My Life part 2 (2003) will be screened at the Festival Archival Assembly in Berlin.