Facing the Past—German Documentaries

From the Nazi era, World War II, and partition to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and reunification, Germany has endured an epoch of upheaval. With a focus on recollections and records of war, postwar German history, and the various issues left behind by East Germany, this program looks at the ways in which recent German documentaries have faced up to their own history.

Venues: Forum 4, Central Public Hall 4F

A Recollections and Records of War

After its defeat, Germany produced numerous films confronting the war that had caused such immense damage. The surviving number of people with direct knowledge of that war has dwindled, now that over 60 years have passed since it ended. How do films, in light of that fact, face up to Nazism and WW II? Here we shed light on various viewpoints and approaches to recollecting and recording the war as presented by recent German documentaries.

Eternal Beauty 2003 / Marcel Schwierin
The Fairy Tale of the Little Fish 2004 / Wolfgang Reinke
The Unknown Soldier 2006 / Michael Verhoeven
Winter’s Children 2005 / Jens Schanze


B Reconsidering the Postwar History of East and West Germany

Germany was split into East and West in 1949, and stood at the front line of the cold war for 40 years. Here we will reconsider the postwar history of East and West Germany by way of films that take up various incidents and phenomena, such as the relation between economic systems and sex, anti-establishment movements and their radicalization, the emergence of neo-Nazis, and the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Do Communists Have Better Sex? 2006 / André Meier
Black Box Germany 2001 / Andres Veiel
My Life as a Terrorist: The Story of Hans-Joachim Klein 2005 / Alexander Oey
The Rebel: An Untold Story of European Terrorism 2005 / Jan Peter
The Wall 1989-90 / Jürgen Böttcher


C Traces of East Germany

Here we present films that confront one more past that the reunified Germany is faced with: the various issues left behind by the former East Germany. We see the negative legacy left behind by a state surveillance system centered around the Stasi. The economic gap that spreads out between the citizens of former East and former West Germany is still unresolved today. In this program we retrace the tracks of the former East Germany from a post-reunification viewpoint, including relevant films screened at earlier editions of the YIDFF.

Last to Know 2006 / Marc Bauder, Dörte Franke
I Love You All 2004 / Eyal Sivan, Audrey Maurion
The Kick 2005 / Andres Veiel
Locked Up Time 1990 / Sybille Schönemann / YIDFF ’91
Screenplay: The Times—Three Decades with the Children of Golzow and the DEFA Documentary Film Studio 1993 / Barbara & Winfried Junge / YIDFF ’95
Sweep It Up, Swig It Down 1997 / Gerd Kroske / YIDFF ’99