Sweep It Up, Again

(Kehraus, wieder)

Germany, 2006, 100 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Production Company


Ten years have passed since director Gerd Kroske met the three Leipzig street sweepers in 1996. Their social decline is even more visible due to alcoholism and unemployment. While one of them has died, the others just live their lives. Kroske shows his protagonists with dignity and emphasizes their struggle against neglect and the loneliness inscribed in their faces. Critics called the documentary “an intense and bitter film about social coldness and lack of opportunity.”


Part 3 of the long observation project known as the Sweep It Up trilogy.



The film is also available for a Digital Site License for educational partners. Please find more information here.


2023 Retrospective Dokumentarische Positionen: Gerd Kroske, Berlin, Germany
2006 DOK Leipzig, Germany
2004 Retrospective Deutschland, Revisited: II: Dokumentarfilme und andere Experimente, Hamburg, Germany

Press comments

“Kroske’s trilogy draws attention to how the subjects are framed. The three documentaries revisit photographs, scenes, and locations from the previous films, but these are superseded by frames that explore the effect of the transition period on the lives of the sweepers at the moment of filming. Whereas the chronicling function produces an extensive take on given lives and locations, the frame produces an intensive account of how lives are lived and locations inhabited at a given moment in time.”   —Ilona Hongisto, “Sweeping Changes in Eastern Europe: The documentary frame in Gerd Kroske's 'Kehraus' trilogy (1990-2006),” NESCUS, European Journal of Media Studies, 2017


"The Sweep It Up trilogy is free of any larmoyance despite its incredibly touching insights into other people's disappointments and living rooms. It shows how small and gray unemployment can make people. But it also shows the efforts, dignity and self-criticism with which Kroske's protagonists fight against the threat of neglect and isolation."   —Birgit Glombitza, Deutschland, Revisited II: Dokumentarfilme und andere Experimente


„An intense, bitter film about social coldness and lack of opportunities, which deals with three people whose (emotional) hardship is inscribed on their faces."   —Lexikon des internationalen Films  


"Nyon [screened] Gerd Kroske's third part of his trilogy about a group of Leipzig's temporary street sweepers, who sink deeper and deeper into alcoholism and apathy due to lack of work and prospects. Sweep It Up, Again tells of these lives with a sober yet empathetic gaze and, with clips from the first two films, spans the arc to more hopeful times for the protagonists […] It also shows a society frozen between profit and welfare state bureaucracy, in which people who are too decent almost inevitably perish, as the employee of a drug clinic says.“   —Freitag


"As a chronicler of the end-time sentiment in East Germany, Gerd Kroske made a film in March 1990 with the symbolic title Sweep It Up about street sweepers in Leipzig. It has since become a long-term observation.“   —Heinz Kersten, Neues Deutschland



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