• International Competition

The bad Field

Bernhard Sallmann

A plot of land in Ansfelden, a village near Linz in Austria, now hemmed in a still rural
landscape criss-crossed by highways, is the hero of the film, the infertile field of the
title, the history of which is recounted by Bernhard Sallmann, who lived on the
family property as a child. Sallmann films the field, the village and its rather banal
surroundings with austere descriptive shots. Their insistent fixity contrasts with the
anonymous multitude of automobiles, phantoms slipping by on the rectilinear
routes, the flux providing rhythm to the film. With great patience, Sallmann contrives
to read the sites, making us hear, through voice-overs and surprisingly mobile
subtitles on the screen, the stories of one or another of them. Thus the pages of a
book of stories on the verge of obliteration unfold leaf by leaf. We learn that the
composer Anton Bruckner (who was appropriated by the Nazis as a Romantic hero)
was born here, that it was the site of a prison camp during the Second World War,
and that it was later the site of sinister scenes.
From deploring the disappearance of a certain ruralism tinted with nostalgia which
unsurprisingly seems to have dictated the project, we are gradually, but violently,
projected into History, the history of covering up horror. The aim, therefore, is to
transmit something, to exhume the bad memory from the field, and open up to a
History emancipated from its repressions, thus giving body to the dead and turning
the film into a discreet monument. (NF)

  • International Competition

Technical sheet


Version originale
Allemand, anglais
Bernhard Sallmann
Son et montage
Christoph Krüger

Feld Gbr Einsenberg / Sallmann