RSVP VIA WENDE MUSEUM
GDR 1981-1986, FRG 2001, 88 minutes. German with English subtitles
Writer/Director: Jürgen Böttcher, Cinematography: Gunter Becher, Thomas Plenert, Lars Lenski, Lucas Böttcher, Editor: Gudrun Plenert, Music: Günter Sommer, Dietmar Diesner, Producers: Frank Löprich, Katrin Schlösser
Like a fossil, the Marx-Engels Forum, an ambitious East German monument project, occupies a central historical spot and desirable real estate in the middle of Berlin’s new center. In this experimental documentary, Jürgen Böttcher takes a critical look at how the meaning of monuments changes.
In 1973, a team of artists was commissioned by GDR leaders to create a sculpture park commemorating the international workers’ movement. From 1981 until its unveiling in 1986, the director interviewed the artists and documented the project. At the end, almost 16,000 meters of film disappeared into the archives because officials, who had expected a heroic monument, were disappointed by the result and people rejected the Forum.
Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Böttcher revisited his own material, creating a filmic collage from his 1980s 35mm footage and new video material of visitors’ reception of this anachronistic monument. Günter “Baby” Sommer (percussion) and Dietmar Diesner (saxophone) interpret the space and images with their improvisational jazz.
Source: The DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Presented in cooperation with The Wende Museum and the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst within the context of the project MARX NOW