Merry Christmas Deutschland oder Vorlesung zur Geschichtstheorie II

In the early 1980s, Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck studied directing at Berlin’s German Film and Television Academy and made Merry Christmas Deutschland oder Vorlesung zur Geschichtstheorie II as part of his studies, an atmospheric, lucid and politically astute essay in which the director’s signature approach to non-fiction that would flourish further in later works is already on display. Utilising contradictions and counterpoints, these dense but unhurried 18 minutes pair rephotographed television clips of German parliamentary debates with footage of the city’s drab post-war architecture – at times inserting additional colour by way of solarization and other experimental flourishes – all set to Vivaldi, Miles Davis and nondescript audio snippets about shopping and a desire for world peace. In lieu of a first-person voice-over, Peck inserts ironic dictionary definition intertitles of words like “optimism” and “democracy” alongside selected citations, including Prussian General Clausewitz’s declaration that “wars of educated people are less gruesome”, a guiding fallacy that Peck rallies against, and has continued to confront in the decades since.
by Raoul Peck Federal Republic of Germany 1985 German 18’ Colour & Black/White, 16 mm Documentary form

Crew

Written and Directed byRaoul Peck
CinematographyRaoul Peck
EditingRaoul Peck
Production ManagerLiselotte Wawiloff

Produced by

Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB)

Raoul Peck

Born in 1953 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He trained as an industrial engineer and studied film. His international breakthrough came in 1991 with the documentary Lumumba: La mort du prophète. From 1996 to 1997, Peck served as Haiti’s Minister of Culture. He has screened films at the Berlinale several times, most recently both I Am Not Your Negro and Le jeune Karl Marx in 2017.

Filmography

1985 Merry Christmas Deutschland oder Vorlesung zur Geschichtstheorie II 1988 Haitian Corner 1991 Lumumba: La mort du prophète (Lumumba – Death of a Prophet); documentary 1993 L’homme sur les quais (The Man by the Shore) 1994 Desounen: Dialogue with Death; documentary · Haiti – Le silence des chiens (Haiti, Silence of the Dogs); documentary 2000 Lumumba 2001 Profit & Nothing But! Or Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle; documentary 2005 Sometimes in April 2009 Moloch Tropical; IFB Berlinale Special 2012 Assistance mortelle (Fatal Assistance); documentary 2014 Meurtre à Pacot (Murder in Pacot); IFB Panorama 2016 I Am Not Your Negro; documentary 2017 Le jeune Karl Marx (The Young Karl Marx)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022