A Lonely City
Presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto
with POV Magazine, Hot Docs Film Festival & Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival
North American premiere!
A Lonely City (Germany 2020, 90 min.), documentary directed by Nicola Graef.
Bonus Material: Filmmaker introduction plus commentary by urbanism Prof. Ahmed Allahwala
Buy Tickets Loneliness has many faces in Berlin. Young and old are afflicted by it, men, women, single and married people. We have all been there, wherever we find ourselves in big global cities. Still, there’s a stigma to acknowledging loneliness. Director Graef lets the lonely urban inhabitants speak, and listens. Berlin is a city for extroverts, Tessa thinks. The young woman, however, is not one of them. The consequence is loneliness and that “is quite draining,” she says. 85-year-old Efraim, a photographer and flaneur, has found a confident way to deal with those nagging feelings: He’s “not the type for marriage,” anyway. Artist Thomas suffers from the end of a long-term love affair and wonders whether “the icing sugar has come off by the age of 50,” while hoping that “there is a market for everything, even broken cars.” Poised and affectionate, we move through the expanses of the city, where stories sprout like weeds between the cobblestones. From the corner pub to the artist’s studio, from parks to sports clubs and, time and again, into silent apartments – the filmmaker encounters witnesses to emptiness everywhere. Their reports are moving, but they never make us feel hopeless.
“You usually don't see loneliness in people, at least not at first glance. Graef dedicates 90 minutes to the stories of people who otherwise often get lost in the hustle and bustle of the big city.” – Radio Berlin-Brandenburg
“Based on interviews with a dozen protagonists, Graef explores what loneliness means in a metropolis. A mosaic of sensations, on a very personal level.” – Kinozeit
Born in 1970, Nicola Graef studied German literature and philosophy in Munich and Paris, followed by an MA in Dramatic Arts in London. In 2008, Graef finished "Ich. Immendorff,” her first documentary for the big screen. 2017’s ”Neo Rauch – Comrades and Companions" was lauded as a well-informed close-up portrait of one of the most important living artists.
Ahmed Allahwala is a German-born and Toronto-based professor of human geography at the University of Toronto. He received his MA at the Free University Berlin followed by his PhD from York University Toronto. His research and teaching focuses on community development and urban social change, city politics and urban planning, as well as migration and multiculturalism.
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Language: German with English Subtitles
Program Curator: Jutta Brendemühl