Cinema Jolly > 18:30


Annik Leroy


Thursday 22/07/2021


Original version with subtitles



Film Notes

Sometimes we only understand something when we are on our own, meandering through the world, perceiving everything from within ourselves. Such is the case in Annik Leroy’s exploration of Berlin shot at the very beginning of the 1980s, a time in which Berlin seemed to be ages from today’s neoliberal explosion or even David Bowie’s Heroes, which appeared only one year later.
We follow Leroy, a stroller equipped with a 16mm and an 8mm camera (for illegally shot scenes in the Eastern part of the city) who embodies the loneliness of the flâneur. Sometimes we see her passing through and then we see the same images without her. What happens in-between is the act of seeing with one’s own eyes; it’s an idea of cinema as flâneur. In quoting Witold Gombrowicz the filmmaker announces her goal: to be in a state in which the act of seeing becomes the act of being.
We discover the sounds of a claustrophobic city and get lost between loudspeakers announcing dead-end streets. We overhear the constant murmur of foreign languages trying to find a voice in a wasteland of asphalt, street lights and the Berlin Wall, marked by darkness and scars of the past. “Just don’t stare at a wall,” declares Gombrowicz, and the film moves on.
Leroy searches for traces of World War II as well as for love and humanity. It’s a contradiction but it contains the darkened German soul: how to make an emphatic image of this place?
A feeling of guilt and violence penetrates the crumbling surfaces of buildings being demolished. It’s a portrait of a city in a state of deconstruction. Yet in the snow there are traces not only of the filmmaker who walks in order to perceive, but also of light. It bursts through holes in windows, in the words of poets and comments by people met along the way. “Flowers will soon blossom on both sides of the bridleway at Kurfürstendamm,” wrote Else Lasker-Schüler, who knew better than anyone that we can beat this feeling, even if just for one film.

Patrick Holzapfel

Cast and Credits

T. alt.: Berlin de l’aube à la nuit. Scen., F.: Annik Leroy. M.: Daniel de Valck, Eva Houdová. Prod.: Gamma Films, Eurafi, Centre Bruxellois de l’Audio-Visuel, ZDF. 16mm. L.: 730 m. Bn.