Past as Process: Reshaping the “Single Story”
Documentaries that understand histories and pasts are plural.
Past, Present, Tense (2015) Dir. Christa Joo Hyun D'Angelo
Germany. 32 minutes.
In German with English and Spanish subtitles.
Predominantly East-German-socialized interviewees look back on German reunification and the hostile time that immediately followed, where racist attacks of arson in Rostock and riots were commonplace. The engaging discussion surrounds the question of German identity and who is served by fixing this position in whiteness. Characteristic of D'Angelo’s work, the conversations remain fluid, intimate, and personal, while speaking volumes to the responsibilities of colonial histories and detriments of cultural amnesia.
Born in Evin (2019) dir. Maryam Zaree
Germany/Austria. 95 minutes.
In German, English, French, and Farsi with English, French, and Spanish subtitles.
Humor mixes seamlessly with sorrow in this personal documentary by actress Maryam Zaree, who arrived in Germany with her mother as a political refugee from Iran. Zaree seeks answers for her recurring nightmares, her anxiety, and the silence in her family surrounding their imprisonment in the political camp, Evin. The dramatic and tactile visual motifs of floating and flying serve as effective metaphors for letting go. Through her collective process of inquiry, Zaree finds a way to release, not her memories, but any notion of them being the whole truth of her birth and early childhood in captivity.