Germany, 2015, 164 min, color/b&w
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)
Themes & Genres:


While channel surfing in 2004, Lutz Dammbeck saw the West German TV game-show host Joachim Fuchsberger explain that he had based his successful early-1960s game show, Nur nicht nervös werden (Just Don’t Get Nervous), on an American show called Beat the Clock, which made use of games developed for use in psychiatric therapy. When asked how many patients had watched his show, Fuchsberger answered: “A nation! A crazy… mentally disturbed nation!” In exploring how (West) Germans could have been considered mentally disturbed, Dammbeck uncovered the mid-20th century psychiatric theories that underpinned the American denazification and reeducation program in West Germany. 

In this painstakingly researched film essay, Dammbeck picks up some of the threads he began pursuing in The Net (2003). He attempts to determine if Fuchsberger’s claims are true and, in the process, explores the concept of a permanent revolution. For this film, which took almost 10 years to complete, Dammbeck conducted a wide range of interviews, including with American game-show producers Syd Vinnedge and Bob Boden and with Maggy von Ostrand, the secretary for Mark Goodson, the legendary producer of the American TV game show Beat the Clock.


2018 Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film, Germany
2018 Grimme Television Award nominee, Germany
2016 DocPoint, Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, Finland
2015 Film Fest Munich, Germany
2015 Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film, Germany
2015 Goethe Award, Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film, Germany


Press comments

“Dammbeck’s films can best be compared with Alexander Kluge’s work.”  —Hans-Günther Pflaum, Goethe-Institut  


“Dammbeck’s method consists of meandering while he unreservedly and curiously absorbs apparent footnotes and theses from a variety of scientific fields—casually reviving a genre that has fallen into unjustified neglect: the encyclopedic film.”  —Cornelia Klauss, 2015 Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film 


“Game shows function like the cultural memory of West German minds after WWII: beguiling, funny and poignant.”  —Berliner Zeitung


“An enormous project. Nearing a description of the state of the world.”  —Kino-Zeit


“A witty, tricky piece of cinema.”  —Süddeutsche Zeitung


“The playfully multi-layered and detour-happy narrative of Overgames is very thoroughly and rigorously constructed, systematic, transparent, and finally most illuminating in its arguments.”   —DocPoint, Helsinki Documentary Film Festival




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