Its light, its smoky bars, its vacant land: the characters that we meet here treasure different aspects of Berlin. Vincent Dieutre puts faces and voices on some of the many artists who have settled there since the collapse of the Wall. Questioning each one about their arrival and possible departure, he depicts how Berlin has become part of the personal stories that have, in turn, been infused with a city’s history. What each artist recounts with their own words and sensitivity is also what the city has taught them – the vocabulary of the sentiments in German, the strength to live in the cold or in precarious conditions. Like a playful wink to the tourist guide format, the filmmaker travels from district to district. Guiding us, his voice conveys a distance that permits analysis but in no way purports to be external to his subject: although Vincent Dieutre is among those who regularly spend time in Berlin, the “other” in this story is not him but Helke, a “true” Berliner who has seen these varyingly bohemian foreigners arrive in her city and leave their influence on it before departing – not without having contributed to the dramatic real-estate price hikes. Appearing like a ghost in the streets and flats, she brings a silent counterpoint to these expatriates’ words, as if embodying a city impacted for better or worse by the intense and changing global dynamics that typify our times.
Born in 1960, Vincent Dieutre studied art history, then enrolled at the IDHEC film school. He spent time in New York on a Villa Medicis grant in 1989, then turned to cinema, which he regularly teaches at Université Paris VIII, La Fémis, Le Fresnoy and ESAV. Blending documentary and intimist elements, his films are fictional autobiographies drawing on his culture and life (Rome désolée, Leçons de ténèbres, Fragments sur la grâce…) and have received various awards at leading international festivals.
- PRODUCTION : Stéphane Jourdain (La Huit), Stéphane Jourdain