Archive of films Consequence / Gegenwart
2012, 65 min
We are shown an image of a barren, snow-covered landscape. We then observe men performing meticulous tasks, their work never ceasing. It’s the festive season between Christmas and New Year and we’re in a crematorium. The observational aspect of the documentary model is here accompanied by a subtle tendency to poeticize the chosen environment, which the film portrays in depth and with a tangible measure of fascination.
It’s the festive season between Christmas and New Year but life in a small crematorium goes on as normal; the coffins keep coming without regard for the time of year. If the furnace needs some repair work, this is the time to do it. We also observe other tasks that are carried out here, work which requires total precision and nerves of chilled steel. The underlying tension doesn’t stem from the story unfolding here, however, but more from our fascination with the environment and the nature of the actions themselves, played out with tangible austerity and dignity. The chosen setting also draws our attention in the very manner it is captured on film – with a great sense of both consistency and variability; even so, we have the feeling that the camera isn’t even there and that the shots are governed by some higher power. Everything is viewed from a distance, yet despite an impression of mutual anonymity, even cool detachment, the lens blends seamlessly with its surroundings. While the documentary dispenses with words and commentary, its crystallised treatment makes for an exceptionally communicative work.
About the director
Thomas Heise (b. 1955, Berlin) initially trained as a printer and, after his military service, he worked as an assistant director at DEFA studios. In 1978-83 he attended the Konrad Wolf University of Film and Television. His documentary debut Why a Film about These People? (1980) was made using material acquired on the black market and it was subsequently banned. Heise then broke off his studies and earned a living as a free-lance writer and director. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall none of his films was screened. The documentary Iron Age (1991) was presented at Berlin, as was Jammed – Let’s Get Moving (1992). His other films are also shown at prestigious festivals all over Europe. The director often focuses on people marginalised by society, and through his work he attempts to penetrate their environment. He has been a lecturer at Karlsruhe University since 2007.
About the film
|Dir. of Photography:||Robert Nickolaus|
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