YIDFF 2007 Facing the Past—German Documentaries
Last to Know
An Interview with Marc Bauder (Director)

The Past, the Present and the Future Influence Each Other

Q: This film deals with three cases of people who were deported from East Germany to West Germany, and their respective families. How did you choose them?

MB: We chose families who could speak properly in public, without deviating from the film we wanted to make. They were prisoners but had not told their family about their past. Through the act of my shooting this film, they were able to do so. As a method of shooting this film, I strictly adhered to a rule that even if I heard about their experiences, I wouldn’t take liberty and tell their children about them, so the shoot progressed on the basis of their informing their children directly. We spent four years shooting this film, so we established very close relationships with them, becoming close friends in the end. We still are friends with them.

Q: How did the families of the people covered in the documentary and other people react to the film when they saw it?

MB: I think they were very happy to learn something new about their families. Through this film, they were able to learn things they hadn’t quite known about each other. For example, the children probably saw a new side of their parents, and the parents saw a new side of their children. So the reaction was very positive. After they watched this film, the family ties that had become a bit loose were tightened again. A friend of mine who saw the film suddenly gave his parents a phone call, and also told someone who had once been imprisoned about the film, and recommended that his children see it as well. So the reaction spread itself that way.

Q: What did you want to convey through the film?

MB: For me, “This is what I want them to feel” and stuff like that has no importance. The starting point is that I make a film with a certain theme. And people who have seen the film will look things up and feel certain things, and that’s how things get started, I think. There is no particular message that I want to send them. My message is that it is important for people to communicate various things with each other.

Q: You said in the question-and-answer session after the screening that you wanted to film how the past influences the present.

MB: I wanted to show that the past from thirty years before influences the present, and, moreover, the future as well. That was my theme. In Japan, as well as in other countries, you need to talk about the past, or the past will cast shadows over the present. Thoroughly knowing the past keeps problems from occurring. Since the past is hidden, you need to talk with your parents as well. Though they are separate, the past, the present and the future constantly influence each other.

(Compiled by Takashima Yukie)

Interviewers: Takashima Yukie, Mineo Kazunori / Interpreter: Saito Shinko / Translator: Ann Yamamoto
Photography: Kaneko Yuji / Video: Kaneko Yuji / 2007-10-09