Scene from the film Material


  • Germany
Audio Tracks 

It starts with the laughter of children. Images from the late 80ies in the GDR to the immediate present of the year 2008 in Germany.
Those residual images have besieged my head, constantly reassembling themselves into new shapes that are further and further removed from their original meaning and function. They remain in motion. They become history.
The material remains incomplete. It consists of what I held on to, what remained important to me. It is my picture.

Footage shot by Thomas Heise himself or taken at locations where he filmed, but never published. Out-takes that remained: Scenes at the theater during Fritz Marquardt's production of Heiner Müller's 'Germania Tod in Berlin', the eviction of squatters from houses on Mainzer Straße, the mass demonstration at Alexanderplatz in November 1989, a residents' meeting in Hessenwinkel in Berlin, a session of the newly elected People's Parliament (the former East German parliament), scenes from inside Brandenburg prison, youths from the far-left scene staging an attack at a film screening, scenes from the demolition of the Palast der Republik. All testimony to a none-too-distant past. German history. There's always something left over, bits and pieces that don't fit in. Notes, traces, fragments, chunks. Rather than assembling his material into a historical panorama Thomas Heise literally opens up a Zeit-Raum, a time-space, a resonating body in which sentences, images, stories and memories can reverberate. The soundtrack by Charles Ives does the rest. This is archaeology of the possible – and not least, an elegy to the past. (Birgit Kohler, Catalogue Berlinale/International Forum of New Cinema 2009)


  • Original title
  • Direction
  • DOP
    Sebastian Richter, Peter Badel, Thomas Heise, Jutta Tränkle, Börres Weiffenbach
  • Editing
    René Frölke
  • Music
    Charles Ives
  • Sound
    Uve Haussig, Jürgen Schönhoff, Robert Nickolaus, Maxim Woflram
  • Duration
    164 min (91+ min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Germany
  • Colour
    • Colour
  • Distribution
  • Festivals
    • Berlinale 2009
    • Visions du Réel Nyon 2009
    • BAFICI Buenos Aires 2009
    • DOK.FEST Munich 2009
    • Planete Doc Review Warsaw 2009
    • Santiago de Chile FF 2009
    • Festival des Deutschen Films Mannheim 2009
    • FID Marseille 2009 (Grand Prix of the International Competition)
    • Lussas IDF 2009
    • Cambridge FF 2009
    • Festival of German Film Paris 2009
    • Vancouver IFF 2009
    • DocLisboa 2009
    • Viennale 2009
    • Festival dei Popoli Florence 2009
    • Duisburger Filmwoche 2009
    • Verzio Human Rights FF Budapest 2009
    • FIC Brasília 2009
    • DocPoint Helsinki 2010
    • Punto de Vista FF Navarra 2010
    • Jeonju FF 2010 is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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