a film by Thomas Heise


Germany | 2009 | 166:00 min

Formal Categories

History Personal Point of View

Content Categories

Man kann sich die Geschichte länglich denken. Sie ist aber ein Haufen.

Der Film MATERIAL enthält Beobachtungen, Szenen, Fragmente, Geschichten und Vorgänge. Bilder von den späten achtziger Jahren in der DDR bis in die unmittelbare Gegenwart des Jahres 2008 in Deutschland. Gegenwart, Vergangenheit und Zukunft spiegeln darin einander. Es ist mein Bild.
(Thomas Heise)
Something always remains, a rest, that cannot be subsumed. (From EISENZEIT 1991)
The Film MATERIAL contains observations, scenes, fragments, stories and processes. Images from the late eighties in the GDR to the immediate present of the year 2008 in Germany. The montage of these images creates a picture of these times, where past, present and future mirror one another. It is my picture. In 1987 author Heiner Müller brought me a video camera back from West Berlin and I began using it to record images.

Observations from the theatre and small scenes from the everyday reality of a disappearing state. Early 1990 this state was finished, all tapes were full and the camera was broken. Other cameras have sporadically taken its place. A Super 8, a 16mm and a 35mm camera, a DigiBetacam, and a DV-camera. The images from these cameras were produced to the left and to the right of the films I have made since then. Some of these excursions became part of these films, while others were never used. Ever since, those leftover images have besieged my head, constantly reassembling themselves into new shapes that are further and further removed from their original meaning and function.

They remain in motion. They become history; they become a story. Now is the time to tell it. This film is not a polished end product; it is told from a very personal point of view. It shows what I saw, what caught my attention and what I held on to. It tells the story of a lot of people that start talking for the first time. And often only for that one time, after a long period of waiting and silence. A rare and often unexpected moment. Like a short awakening. I become aware that I am one of those people.original German version with English subtitles available
Grand Prix FID Marseille 2009
Berlinale FORUM 2009 (Worldpremiere)
Visions du Réel Nyon 2009
Vancouver IFF 2009
Viennale 2009
Cast and Crew
  • Director Thomas Heise
  • Producer Heino Deckert
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