À pas aveugles

From Where They Stood
Although they were risking their lives by doing so, prisoners in concentration and extermination camps took photographs and even managed to smuggle canisters of film beyond the camp gates. Yet their hopes of galvanising the global public into action would remain unfulfilled.
À pas aveugles examines these photographs with a calm, sober gaze. Director Christophe Cognet travels to Ravensbrück, Dachau and Auschwitz-Birkenau, amongst other sites, carrying black-and-white glass plate prints in his luggage. The images show, for example, an infirmary, a roll call area, the maimed limbs of female prisoners. Even the moments immediately before and after the industrialised murders were captured by Greek prisoner Alberto Errera, albeit in shadowy form.
The historical images and their present-day locations are overlaid on multiple occasions to ghostly effect: when visitors to the memorial sites pass behind the glass plates, it’s as if the individuals depicted have broken free from their fixed positions in black and white, setting themselves in motion as coloured spectres.
by Christophe Cognet
with Christophe Cognet, Tal Bruttmann, Corinne Halter
France / Germany 2021 French, German, Polish 110’ Colour Documentary form

Part of the Berlinale Summer Special


  • Christophe Cognet
  • Tal Bruttmann
  • Corinne Halter


Written and Directed by Christophe Cognet
Cinematography Céline Bozon
Editing Catherine Zins
Sound Design Nathalie Vidal
Sound Marc Parisotto
Assistant Director Ada Gudzinski
Production Manager Maria Bicharska
Producer Raphaël Pillosio
Executive Producer Raphaël Pilosio
Co-Producer Robert Cibis
Co-Production Oval Media Berlin

Christophe Cognet

Born in 1966 in Marseille, France. After studying film, his work as an author and director has frequently been concerned with the Nazi concentration and extermination camps, including Parce que j'étais peintre, l'art rescapé des camps nazis (2014). His book “Éclats” (2019) served as the inspiration for À pas aveugles.


1997 Gongonbili, de l’autre côté de la colline; 63 min. 2000 L’affaire Dominici par Orson Welles; 52 min. 2002 La planète perdue; 51 min. 2004 L’atelier de Boris; 76 min. 2005 Quand nos yeux sont fermés; 55 min. 2008 Les anneaux du serpent; 45 min. 2014 Parce que j'étais peintre, l'art rescapé des camps nazis (Because I was a Painter: Art that survived Nazi camps); 104 min. 2017 Sept mille années; 15 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021