American premiere on February 11
A sound studio. An actress is recording a text. At the mixing desk a director is giving her instructions. Together they are working on the voice recording for a film which is running synchronously in the background. It is a documentary essay called Returning to Reims
– a cinematic adaptation of the eponymous book by French sociologist Didier Eribon.
The film follows the author on a type of journey of reminiscence. With a mixture of personal confession and sociological analysis, Eribon reports on the re-encounter with his hometown, which he has hardly seen since in the decades since beginning his intellectual career in Paris and which he has had no desire to see. In his confrontation with his own past, Eribon also comes up against the blind spots in contemporary society: the brutal exclusion mechanisms at work in the very same middle-classes to which he now belongs and the reality of a previously communist working-class which, forgotten and disenfranchised, is now running into the right-wing populist arms of the Front National.
How can things have come to this? How much is the left-wing to blame, and how much Eribon himself who, as an intellectual, has renounced his past? And what are the solutions? These are all questions Eribon pursues in his film as he goes on a search for clues in Reims. They are questions which also continue to trouble the director and actress during their process of finishing the film – and which ultimately lead to a conflict that puts what was considered to be a completed project to the test and simultaneously exposes hidden aspects of the protagonists’ personal biographies.
Since its publication, Dider Eribon's text has become a key work in the understanding of contemporary society. This New York guest performance, directed by Thomas Ostermeier, is the first English adaptation of Returning to Reims
to be performed in the US.
, born 1968 in Soltau, Germany, has been Berliner Schaubühne’s artistic director since 1999. Educated at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art Berlin, he has worked as a director and actor ever since. Numerous engagements led him to work at several other renowned theatres in the German-speaking area, such as Kammerspiele Munich and the Burgtheater Vienna. His plays are invited regularly to international festivals. He has been awarded many times for his work and received the Golden Lion for his lifework at the Biennale of Venice 2011.
, born 1975 in Stuttgart, Germany, has been member of Berliner Schaubühne’s Ensemble since 2013/14 season. After graduating from the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art Berlin, she got an engagement from 1998-2013 at the Deutsches Theater Berlin. She has also appeared in numerous films and television, most recently for the Showtime series Homeland
. She has been awarded with the Silver Bear Award of the International Film Festival Berlin (2007) and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2013), among others.
Co-production with the Manchester International Festival MIF, HOME Manchester and Théâtre de la Ville Paris. Funded by Lotto Stiftung Berlin.
Direction: Thomas Ostermeier
Set and Costume Design: Nina Wetzel
Collaboration Set Design: Doreen Back
Music: Nils Ostendorf
Sound Design: Jochen Jezussek
Dramaturgy: Florian Borchmeyer, Maja Zade
Lighting Design: Erich Schneider
Film Direction: Sébastien Dupouey, Thomas Ostermeier
Camera: Marcus Lenz, Sébastien Dupouey, Marie Sanchez
Film Editing: Sébastien Dupouey
Original Soundtrack Film: Peter Carstens, Robert Nabholz
Archival Research Film: Laure Comte, BAGAGE (Sonja Heitman, Uschi Feldges)
Video Technics Film: Jake Witlen, Sabrina Brückner
Production Film: Stefan Nagel, Annette Poehlmann
With: Nina Hoss
With: Hans-Jochen Wagner
With: Ali Gadema / Renato Schuch
Duration: ca. 125 minutes