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WHAT NEXT?

Director Ulrich Weiß trained at the Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg. He started at the DEFA Studio for Documentary Films and then joined the Feature Film Studio. After making a children’s film, Tambari (1976), he planned Tanz imVolkshaus, a film about East Germany in the 1950s. The studio management rejected this script, however, as well as many others in the following years. Even the films that he was allowed to make—such as the story of a resistance fighter in 1935, Your Unknown Brother (1981), and a film about a professional boxer after WWII, Olle Henry (1983), which received international praise—were met with indignation by East German officials. After the Wall came down, Weiß finally directed Miraculi (1991), a project over ten years in the planning, which is part of the WENDE FLICKS series. 

Ulrich Weiß

Still, I can’t manage to render a STATEMENT on the fall of the Berlin Wall.

HOW COULD I?

Was it a turning point that led to German unity?
Or to re-unification?
Was it a revolution, a peaceful one?
Or was it a restoration? And, if so, what was restored?
In 1989 and since.

200 years earlier, in 1789, began the French Revolution.
It wrote liberty, equality, fraternity on its banners.
It spread liberty spread over all of Europe—thanks to Napoleon.
Fraternity too? What about equality? In a war?
Those who came up short in the distribution, the poor, sought their luck in America.
They settled on Native American land and brought liberty along.
Liberty for whom?
Did they also bring equality and fraternity?
The European proletarian revolution after WWI strove for equality—a social equality.
But how was it with liberty and fraternity?
Does optimizing one involve diminishing the other?
Can unison emerge from the triad that sounds so promising in French:
liberté, egalité, fraternité?
For a moment, it seemed believable when the borders opened in Germany.
1989.—

We are the people became We are one people and Germany, united fatherland.
Insanity!—the collective call.
And then soon:
We were the people.
We had been the people.
Had we been the people?
(If you emphasize a different word every time, it shifts the meaning of the whole. Try it.)
The Cold War, which followed closely upon the hot one, left its marks—
the destruction of the language, the loss of the ability to make oneself understood in it without enduring misunderstandings. Texts lost their contexts, contexts their texts.
Language confusion. Language delusion. Language distortion.
Twenty years later the first attempts to rediscover it, the language.  

You might almost wish to go back two and half millennia,
when people strolled in Greece’s flourishing landscapes
and began to reflect on thinking. And on how it could be expressed.
Someone who makes films, cinematography, might ask:
Does everything move based on the images?

This morning I read the paper:
Snacking without a calorie counter: Researchers puzzle over chocolate of the future.
Tower of Bremen: For 3 weeks Bremen will be the world capital of languages.
Obama wants stricter bank controls.

WHAT NEXT?

Maybe we should invent a new language.
After we have strolled in our groves, where we will have once again reflected on our thinking.

 HOW ELSE?

Ulrich Weiβ, September 14, 2009
October 2009 Issue
Translated by Hiltrud Schulz, DEFA Film Library

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