STATUS AND TERRAIN
When first viewing Zustand und Gelände, we might be under the impression it belongs to a well-known tradition of historical documentaries. Long shots, extremely slow all-round views, steady panning: the image patiently describes a series of urban sites and landscapes of the former German Democratic Republic (Saxony and Thuringia). Through highly elaborate arrangements of archives
from different sources (police reports, survivors’ testimonies, administrative correspondence, and more), an off -screen voice establishes what these places set the stage for in March 1933: the Nazi concentration system and an elimination regime of all political opposition. Especially noteworthy, in this film, is the extremely attentive channelling towards still unknown times and geographies of the horror Hitler inflicted on the first victims: people with sympathies for communism, activists, trade unionists, socio-democratic journalists, and so on. The act of relating landscape studies to archives builds memory and historical knowledge while also documenting oblivion and erasure. But Ute Adamczewski does not simply abandon her first film in the hands of such conventional ideas of history and documentary approaches. A video artist and montage technician like herself (The Dubai in me, FID 2010) shapes a way of thinking history in far more ambitious terms thus lending an ear, over time, to echoes of such a traumatic past – namely the politics of memory as they succeeded one another under di erent regimes – and doubling the chronicles of Nazi repression. Her montage techniques produce an increasingly complex archeology attempting to disclose, in each landscape, the layering of memorial writing. The GDR under Stalin, a re-unified Germany: each era, each and every regime writes and erases, sometimes on the same monument. Zustand und Gelände sketches out the spectral and unquiet history of Germany haunted by Nazism. Its deceptive calm is emergency withheld. (N.F.)
Original version : German. Subtitles: English. Script: Ute Adamczewski. Image: Stefan Neuberger. Editing: Ute Adamczewski. Music: . Sound: Ludwig Berger With: Katharina Meves.
Production: Ute Adamczewski.
Distribution: Ute Adamczewski.
Filmography: Neue Ordnung, 2013. The Chinese Radiant City, 2015.
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