Der unsichtbare Zoo

The Invisible Zoo
On the grounds of Zurich Zoo, workers are transforming the brown earth into a savannah landscape, with concrete baobabs to serve as a feeding system and storage space. A “scenography of the wilderness” is being created here, as art historian Christina Katharina May terms this animal pen designed with an eye for detail, a combination of pared-down architecture and an almost natural appearance – a central component of the zoo’s efforts to make itself invisible. Across the seasons, Romuald Karmakar’s film gives an account of life and work at one of Europe’s leading zoological gardens. The effort that precedes the illusion of invisibility is shown, as is the logistical apparatus that keeps the whole enterprise running. The animals are also shown, which serve as an attraction. By revealing a complex network of economical and ethical questions that shape the zoo, precisely what usually remains invisible, this three-hour film expands what is shown into a reflection on the relationship between humans and animals: a mirroring and a “momentary imaginary relationship” (Sabine Nessel). The portrait of an institution – of modernity, of the present.
by Romuald Karmakar Germany 2024 German, Swiss German, English, Subtitles: English 178' Colour World premiere | Documentary form

Content Note

Advisory note on sensitive content


DirectorRomuald Karmakar
ScreenplayRomuald Karmakar
CinematographyFrank Griebe, Ian Oggenfuss, Romuald Karmakar
EditingRomuald Karmakar, Karin Nowarra
SoundDieter Meyer
ProducerRomuald Karmakar
Co-ProducerAndro Steinborn
Commissioning EditorsDagmar Mielke, Matthias Leybrand, Christian Granderath, Mirjam Dolderer
Co-ProductionArden Film GmbH, Berlin
rbb/Arte, Potsdam/Berlin
BR, München
NDR, Hamburg
SWR, Baden-Baden

Produced by

Pantera Film

Berlin, Germany

Romuald Karmakar

Born in Wiesbaden in 1965. His films include both features and documentaries, which have screened at major international film festivals and been presented in several retrospectives. His film The Himmler Project was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2013, he was one of the artists to represent Germany at the 55th Art Biennale in Venice. In 2017, he participated in documenta 14. He is an elected member of the Academy of Arts Berlin. He lives and works in Berlin.

Filmography (selection)

1984 Candy Girl; short film 1985 Eine Freundschaft in Deutschland (A Friendship In Germany) 1987 Coup De Boule; documentary, IFB Panorama 1988 Hellman Rider; documentary · Gallodrome; documentary 1989 Mappa Master; documentary · Hunde aus Samt und Stahl (Dogs Of Velvet And Steel); documentary 1991 Demontage Ix, Unternehmen Stahlglocke (Demontage Ix – Operation Steelbell); documentary 1992 Warheads; documentary, IFB Forum 1994 Der Tyrann von Turin (The Tyrann Of Torino); documentary 1995 Der Totmacher (The Deathmaker); IFB Neue Deutsche Filme 1998 Das Frankfurter Kreuz (Frankfurt Millennium); IFB Panorama 1999 Manila 2000 Das Himmler-Projekt (The Himmler Project); documentary, IFB Forum 2003 196 Bpm; documentary, IFB Forum 2002 Die Nacht von Yokohama (The Night Of Yokohama); documentary 2004 Die Nacht singt ihre Lieder (Nightsongs); IFB Wettbewerb · Land der Vernichtung (Land Of Annihilation); documentary, IFB Panorama 2005 Between The Devil and the Wide Blue Sea; documentary 2006 Hamburger Lektionen (Hamburg Lectures); documentary, IFB Panorama 2009 Deutschland 09 – 13 Kurze Filme zur Lage der Nation (Germany 09 – 13 Short Films On The State Of The Nation) · Villalobos; documentary 2011 Esel mit Schnee (Donkey With Snow); documentary · Die Herde des Herrn 2012 Angriff auf die Demokratie – Eine Intervention (Intervention); documentary 2013 Panzernashorn (Rhinoceros); documentary · Anticipation; documentary · 8. Mai (8th of May); documentary 2017 Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht (If I Think of Germany at Night) 2024 Der unsichtbare Zoo (The Invisible Zoo); documentary

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2024


Mon Feb 19 15:00

Delphi Filmpalast

Download iCal file
Thu Feb 22 15:30

Cubix 7

Download iCal file
Sat Feb 24 18:30

Delphi Filmpalast

Download iCal file