In another documentary, Sag mir Mnemosyne (Tell Me Mnemosyne), filmmaker Lisa Sperling goes in search of her great uncle who was a cameraman and who she never personally met. She compares the places in his films with the images she's filmed of them today: on the screen, a montage is created of the old black and white 4:3 film material and today's 16:9 colour material. The director interviewed friends of her great uncle and out of this composed a text which, as in an essay film, is spoken over the images and lets the man emerge before the audience's inner eye.
This year I've often come across films which remove themselves from the 'documentary as a feature film' model. Sprache:Sex (Sex:Speak) by Saskia Walker and Ralf Hechelmann is an example. The film shows interview situations in which different people, including a child, speak about sex. Some longer, some shorter sections which, in the end, form a big story about intimacy.
Since we're speaking about places which are mostly very restricted, very concentrated, the impression arises that the stories being told are also very much focused on very close, familial set-ups. Or am I wrong?
No, that's absolutely right. As long as I've been with Perspektive Deutsches Kino, many of the stories have been about familial set-ups. The political film with big, state of the nation aspirations can only rarely be found in the next-generation section, at least where feature films are concerned. In documentary it's more likely, but there the crucial question remains: does the film have the character of a reportage or has it actually found a cinematic language. And this year the films are again strongly focussed on the familial context – whether that's the relationship between couples or siblings or a substitute family, as in the feature film Elixir. In Elixir a group of artists live and work together in a former factory. They give each other mutual support, help each other out, dream and also argue – all like in a real family. At the same time this film also shows how these conflicts do not remain private and also exist in an artistic-political context. All the characters are based on real people: artists from the surrealist movement who meet once again in contemporary Berlin.