Film screening: Rabbit a la Berlin + Wir bleiben hier
Location: Block Museum of Art, Mary and Leigh (Map it)
Timed with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, Northwestern doctoral candidates Evelyn Kreutzer and Esra Cimencioglu have curated a series of stylistically diverse films that promise to shed new light on this crucial moment in European history. Migrating Berlin reveals fascinating “micro-histories” that unsettle established East/West narratives about this period of cultural and architectural transformation. Documentaries like Duvarlar-Mauern-Walls (2000) and Wir Bleiben Hier (1990) chronicle the alienation and socio-economic struggle among Germany’s migrant populations during reunification, while Berlin, Babylon (2001) considers how the built environment of the city itself reflects these sweeping changes. With commentary by Northwestern faculty, visiting scholars and filmmakers, these films demonstrate the urgency of returning to these neglected histories three decades on.
Promotional support provided by the Goethe Institut
Rabbit à la Berlin (Bartosz Konopka, 2009, Poland/Germany, BetaSP 52 min.)
In German with English subtitles
The fall of the Berlin Wall affected many demographics in different ways, demanding people adjust to a new life in a new post-communist world and reunified Germany. Bartek Konopka's Oscar-nominated documentary Rabbit à la Berlin tells the allegorical story of Berlin’s wild rabbit population, which had inhabited the death zone of the wall, reflecting on various forgotten, ignored or marginalized peoples during and after the Cold War. Assembling archival footage from multiple sources, the film dives into the perspective of the rabbits in their own habitat and a new Europe.
Wir bleiben hier
(Dirk Otto, 1990, Germany, digital, 32 min.)
In German with English Subtitles.
Dirk Otto’s Wir bleiben hier (“We’re staying here”) is centered on the peculiar situation of Vietnamese immigrants in Eastern Germany after the fall of the wall. After constituting the largest immigrant group in an otherwise homogeneous East-German population, they suddenly found themselves in an undefined limbo state when their work and residence permits were not valid in the new ‘host country.’ Otto, an Eastern-German filmmaker himself, closely follows one family in particular—a young couple and their daughter, whom he met after immersing himself in Berlin’s Vietnamese community. He follows them to Hamburg and back to Berlin, capturing their struggle in a sober, observational mode, and interviews them about their decision and struggle to "stay here," in spite of the political shifts.
Subtitle translation by Barbara Stone