Proposal for Berlin Lost Films

We are pleased to announce the availability for screening(s) of all six versions of our 21-minute, 16 mm. documentary film about the Great Jewish Cemetery of Berlin (Weissensee) as the principal surviving symbol of Berlin's greatest years (1860-1940). In this subtle visual history, the Cemetery and its evocative gravestones become an archaeological window into a Berlin that, alas, no longer exists. On the soundtrack is the authentic testimony, in either English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish or Hebrew, of ex-Berliners remembering the Cemetery and the world represented there.

A Berlin Lost, Ein verlorenes Berlin, Berlin Perdu, El Berlin Perdido, Ett Forlorat Berlin, Berlin Sche-Einena Jother--these films have been shown at festivals at Berlin, Munich, Oberhausen, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Jerusalem, and elsewhere; the English film won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and toured with it. Since the gravestones on the film's visual track already provide so much to read, we chose not to subtitle the footage (or allow the affectations of overdubbing), but, instead, to reproduce it with wholly new sound tracks composed from fresh interviews with ex-Berliners speaking all those languages. Not only because the soundtracks differ in content, but also because the imagery begs to be reseen, our recommendation is that at least two, preferably three, versions ideally be seen in sequence. (For viewing the German version, we can provide printed translations of its soundtrack into English or Spanish; for the French, Spanish, Swedish and Hebrew, we have only English.) We have also joined Michael Maassen in producing, from the German interviews, a 65-minute radio feature Nach Weissensee that has been broadcast over German stations and favorably reviewed in the German press.

We think A Berlin Lost would especially interest ex-Berliners and their descendants, many of whom know about the Cemetery but have never seen it (in part because it is in the former East Berlin), as well as those generally interested in European Jewish culture and the life of great cities. Either of us can accompany the film(s), answering questions about it and Weissensee today. Institutions interested in screening our work(s), in sponsoring our accompanying presentations or in auditing 3/4" U-Matic or 1/2" VHS videotapes should write or call. Thanks.