Writer Thomas Brasch died in 2001. Born in London into a Jewish immigrant family, he grew up in the GDR where his father quickly rose through the ranks to become Vice-Minister for Culture in 1965. His father’s career was to experience a slump when his son was arrested after having posted flyers protesting against the clamp down on Prague Spring. Prior to this, Thomas Brasch had often clashed with GDR authorities: once it was for having ‘slandered leading personalities’, another time for objecting to the banning of a Berlin Volksbühne production of a stage play about Vietnam. His stage plays, texts and poems but also his three feature films never fail to fascinate on account of their myriad references and the seemingly effortless way in which he manages to interweave the past, contemporary events, classical and pop culture, as well as Jewish and German heritage. The Gelsenkirchen-born director of this documentary has made a point of looking at Brasch’s life and work from both Western and Eastern perspectives.
“It is my belief that filmmaking, the creation of images, contains the desire for an alternative way of living. Every form of expression contains a thorn that is designed to provoke you; that is an appeal for change. It is the role of art to keep alive this dream, or this fear; art keeps the flame going, it shows the difference and the deficit. Only when society regresses to such an extent that people no longer dream, will the powers-that-be have achieved their goal.” Thomas Brasch, 1988