Berlinale: Programme

Film File

Panorama Dokumente


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The end of the GDR gave rise to new artistic freedoms in reunited Berlin. Shortly after the fall of the Wall, rebel director Frank Castorf was appointed artistic director of the Volksbühne. His way of working altered the public’s perception of this theatre. The post-reunification audiences in East Berlin were glad to be challenged by a series of radical productions and theatre marathons, and the Volksbühne became a legend. The chronological history of the Castorf era between 1992 and 2017 is told here in excerpts from the productions and in a series of conversations conducted on the long sofa in the theatre’s foyer. This is where we hear from actors including Henry Hübchen, Sophie Rois, Martin Wuttke and Herbert Fritsch, who moved from acting to directing, as well as Castorf himself. The people behind the scenes, who usually remain invisible to the audience, also have their say and are placed on an equal footing with prominent actors and directors.
For all those who weren’t in Berlin during the last 25 years, but also for those who sat in the auditorium as spectators, Pehnert, Ehlert and Ulrich have revisited the story of a newer, freer way of making theatre.

Lutz Pehnert
Matthias Ehlert
Adama Ulrich

Germany 2018


Documentary form
130 min · Colour

World premiere


Frank Castorf
Sophie Rois
Kathrin Angerer
Herbert Fritsch
Henry Hübchen
Alexander Scheer


Lutz Pehnert, Matthias Ehlert, Adama Ulrich
Lutz Pehnert
Director of Photography
Wolfgang Gaube
Johannes Schneeweiß
Thomas Kleinwächter
Sound Design
Michael Kaczmarek, Jörg Theil
Moritz Denis
Susann Schimk
rbb, Potsdam-Babelsberg


Lutz Pehnert

Born in Berlin in 1961, after serving an apprenticeship as a typesetter, he worked for the ‘Junge Welt’ daily newspaper. Since 1995 he has been a freelance writer and director for television. Brand (co-director: Matthias Ehlert) screened in the 1997 Berlinale Forum.

Filmography (documentaries)

1996 Brand; co-director: Matthias Ehlert, Forum 2010 DDR Ahoi! 2018 Partisan; co-directors: Matthias Ehlert, Adama Ulrich; Panorama

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018

Matthias Ehlert

Born in Berlin in 1967, he studied philosophy, German and history. He has worked as a journalist since 1992 and, since 2012, has been deputy editor-in-chief of ‘Weltkunst’ magazine.

Filmography (documentaries)

1996 Brand; Co-director: Lutz Pehnert, Forum 2004 Europas Erbe – Ein Kontinent im Spiegel der Geschichte; Co-director: Lutz Pehnert 2018 Partisan; Co-directors: Lutz Pehnert, Adama Ulrich

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018

Adama Ulrich

A director and writer, she studied cultural theory, aesthetics, theatre history and ethnography in Berlin and completed a PhD in theatre in 1993. She pursues her interests in other cultures and ways of life with cinematic voyages of discovery to Africa, Latin America and the USA.

Filmography (documentaries)

2008 Ma vie – Frank Castorf 2012 Vergessene Völker Europas. Die Kaschuben 2018 Partisan; co-directors Lutz Pehnert, Matthias Ehlert, Panorama

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018

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