The German Consulate General Recommends:
FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL ANNIVERSARY SCREENING
by Stefan Roloff
Saturday, November 9, 2019
To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (November 9, 1989), The Anthology Film Archives will be hosting the German-American filmmaker and installation artist, Stefan Roloff, for a program containing four of the short videos that comprise his multi-part work, LIFE IN THE DEATH ZONE, as well as one of his later interview-based pieces, MARIO R.
Born in West Berlin, and currently living and working between Berlin and New York, Roloff shot a series of video pieces in 1984 that reflected his fascination with the perceived normalcy of the work that ordinary people were called upon to do in the midst of the death strip that surrounded his native city and separated Germany for 28 years. The subject of LIFE IN THE DEATH ZONE is the East German border sentries’ seemingly surreal activities as they go about what was, to them, everyday life. Roloff’s images convey the normalization of mutual, deadly observation. They are not about the GDR or other political terms, but rather about a human condition.
Shot in 1984 and edited in 2007, these works peer into the Wall’s death strip from the outside. More recently, however, Roloff has created an archive of filmic portraits looking at the GDR from the inside, through the eyes of citizens who were persecuted, imprisoned, attempted escape, or lived simple, normal lives. This program will include MARIO R., in which Mario, seen only in silhouette, narrates the haunting story of his experiences as a gay man in former East Germany, his thwarted attempt to escape to the West for love, his imprisonment by the Stasi, and his final passage to the free world where traumatizing experiences awaited him before he ultimately found happiness.
LIFE IN THE DEATH ZONE
(1984/2005, 28-min excerpt, digital)
(2013, 52 min, digital. In German with English subtitles.)
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