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Germany, 1990 (MIFF 1991, Documentaries)

Director: Sybille Schonemann

Not surprisingly, a flood of new documentaries about the New Germany and the horrors of the old, have surfaced over the last twelve months at the Leipzig and Berlin Festivals. Undoubtedly the finest of them was Locked Up Time, a riveting account of one ex-East German filmmaker's imprisonment and her subsequent search (after the fall of the wall) for those responsible for this injustice. Ironically, by focusing solely on one woman's story, Locked Up Time seems to have captured the East German national psyche where more ambitious projects have failed. For Sybille Schonemann it must have been a painful, if therapeutic journey.

In her own words : "When the great 'wall of protection' which protected people here and there from my questions broke down, I felt an increasing pressure to go there and ask questions. Since it was my profession I said to myself, if at all, then consequently not without camera and recorder.

When i finally sat in one of my former prison cells and for the first time listened to my old feelings, met people who had tormented me in the past, but who claimed to have been nothing but a small executing wheel in the gear of injustice, I decided on searching the roots and finding the men who had decided against me.

Whoever I met or whoever hid away from me, my search for traces was increasingly influenced by the certitude that the committers could not be found, because they didn't exist. I realised that I was captured once again in this German 'plait' of persons who did nothing but receive and accomplish orders. So I decided on presenting this search for nobody as the subject matter of the film. And I decided that my question as to the one who did it must remain unsolved.

My film is asking many questions and contains few answers. My search however, that has been depressing and full of suspense, comic and tragic, tiresome and full of release, happened to become a film that has helped me to master a period of my life. To the audience maybe it means an inspiring event, a document of our time and of this double separated country; not more and not less than that". - Sybille Schonemann

Sybille Schonemann's visit to the Festival is made possible by the generous support of the Goethe institute

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