Free State Midpoint

a film by Kai Ehlers

Free State Midpoint

Germany | 2019 | 79:00 min

Original Title:

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History Society Politics

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Theatrical release November 9, 2020
Free State Midpoint portraits the hermit Ernst Otto Karl Grassmé, who was a victim of eugenics. During the Nazi regime he was forcibly sterilized and disenfranchised. As a result he spent the rest of his life in the woods. His letters to a teenage girl from the neighbourhood and records of prolonged legal battles provide insight into his struggle for a dignifed life. It continued in post-war Germany, which refused to give him recognition and reparation. Using a transzendental style the film raises the question what a dignified life looks like and how it depends on societal circumstances.

"The film has shaken me deeply. It is impossible not to get drawn into it. Because what is told to us is not delivered by commentary, but in the voices of the victimised. I feel a responsibility and I am ashamed of the justice system, which, even after 1945, shamelessly continued to exercise the Nazi-Justice (Hereditary Health Law) in the Federal Republic of Germany - until 1991.
I find the visual form ingenious. It doesn’t illustrate the horrible events as files, law texts and self-righteous commentators. On the contrary, it shows us open bucolic meadows, fields, pastures, and woods in which the affected people lived. Far away from the self-righteous functionaries in their offices.
This film stands in direct contrast to the dry, scientific, research-based contemporary documentation of the past. It is vivid and aims at something known to us all: Humanity and the Human Spirit.
Everyone should see this film." (Dietrich Kuhlbrodt)

Emmi Buttmann, Yvonne Schlofeld & Lady, Monika Glindmeier, der Jagdgemeinschaft Hohenfelde, Ute & Dirk Schäfer, Maren & Bernd Reimers, Anke & Stephan Hannemann, Marion Nörenberg, Sabine Uchtmann, Gerrit Friske, Marco Kaiser, Thomas Matzekwitz, Ulrich Palmer, der Gemeinde Brande-Hörnerkirchen, der Familie Flöter
Seal of Approval ‘highly recommended’
visions du reél industry Media Library
61 Nordic Film Days Lübeck
16. dokumentarfilmwoche hamburg
Film Fest Schleswig/Holstein
Cast and Crew
  • Director Kai Ehlers
  • Producer Kai Ehlers
  • Sound Domenico Distillo, Jan Gabriel
  • Compositing André Zacher, Björn Wiese
  • Sound Design Frank Bubenzer
  • Score Chris Hirson
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