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THE FILM

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TO REMEMBER IS TO DANCE WITH THE MIND BETWEEN TRUTHS, MYTH-MAKING AND OBLIVION.

 

A performance-based feature film produced and filmed on location during the month-long performance walk by artist duo VestAndPage from Northern Germany through Poland to the Russian region of Kaliningrad, in May/June 2015. 

 

Taking a private family story and the historical event of post-WWII displace-ments as starting points, the film focuses on the issue of the replaced - displaced - in-place body. It questions how past and present speak to and through our bodies facing ethical, social and existential challenges. It investigates the process of acceptance of history, its individual and collective archiving, as well as concepts of identity and permeability of cultural boarders. In 7 episodes, the film recalls with each one a member of the family, to look into time, mystery, war, duty, courage, trauma and fidelity.

Stenke's family fled upon the evacuation of East Prussia in winter 1945, in the civil exodus along the Baltic Sea to Northern Germany, crossing over 1100 kilometres of land, never returning from there on. There was no mentioning the war, about what it meant for the life of each member of the family: the artists only knew that they "fled during the war" and "came from the north". In order to facilitate a contemporary discourse on the past to understand the present, for the artists it became necessary to connect lapses and gaps, be they real or fictional. The process of recalling the unsaid, puzzling pieces together, digging dust away, imagining possible worlds whilst mapping impossible ones, opened closed boxes and questioned their insides: the dematerialisation of the past, where oblivion reigns above nostalgia.

 

Teetering between the real, the visionary, and the changing contours of the memories of many, the film features the artists in a sequence of moving images, examined through social and geophysical lenses. Their actions evolve in direct response to the surroundings and objects they found along their way. The camera records what possible spectators would view; yet the movie is not a documentary. Instead the performances are pieced together organically, forming an autonomous story to be read by each viewer in a personal way.

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