Continuity in the cinematic sense involves fabricating the illusion of consistent time and space. When cinema deals with the history of colonialism and fascism it is confronting continuity of a different kind: historical continuity that is hijacked to reveal the presence of the past in the here-and-now.
Screening and conversation – Florian Schneider with Thomas Heise
Der lachende Mann – Bekenntnisse eines Mörders
Walter Heynowski/Gerhard Scheumann, GDR 1966, 35 mm, 66 min
“The laughing man – Confessions of a murderer” is a documentary about the German mercenary Siegfried Müller, known as “Congo Müller”. In 1964 Müller was involved in the suppression of the Simba rebellion in the Republic of the Congo (now DR Congo). The GDR film crew place Müller against a black background, letting him get increasingly drunk on Pernod as they intersperse their questions with covertly obtained photographs and tape recordings.
Robert Kramer, France/FRG 1984, 116 min
“Notre Nazi” is a making-of documentary filmed between takes of another film, Thomas Harlan’s “Wundkanal”. Harlan managed to cast Alfred Filbert in “Wundkanal” as an 80-year-old Nazi officer kidnapped and interrogated by a filmmaker. The former city commander of Vilna, “actor” Filbert was in fact a Nazi directly responsible for thousands of deaths.
Tod und Teufel
Peter Nestler, Germany 2009, Beta Sp, 56 min
“Death and Devil” examines the legacy of the director’s grandfather, Count Eric von Rosen, a Swedish aristocrat, ethnologist, explorer, hunter and adventurer whose racism and Nazi sympathies (he was brother-in-law to Hermann Göring) were counterbalanced by a personal fascination for Africa, evidenced by his travels to the former Belgian Congo in the aftermath of colonial genocide.