A Place in Berlin
Like a fossil, the Marx-Engels Forum, an ambitious East German monument project, occupies a central historical spot and desirable real estate in the middle of Berlin’s new center. In this experimental documentary, Jürgen Böttcher takes a critical look at how the meaning of monuments changes.
In 1973, a team of artists was commissioned by GDR leaders to create a sculpture park commemorating the international workers’ movement. From 1981 until its unveiling in 1986, the director interviewed the artists and documented the project.
At the end, almost 16,000 meters of film disappeared into the archives because officials, who had expected a heroic monument, were disappointed by the result and people rejected the Forum. Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Böttcher revisited his own material, creating a filmic collage from his 1980s 35mm footage and new video material of visitors’ reception of this anachronistic monument.
Günter “Baby” Sommer (perc) and Dietmar Diesner (sax) interpret the space and images with their improvisational jazz.
- Director's Biography & Filmography
- The Artists of the Forum
- Producing the Film, by Frank Löprich
- Original handwritten script by Jürgen Böttcher (with English translation)
- Gallery: The Monument, a 1975-1986 photo series by Sibylle Bergemann
- "Fire in the Park - Music in the Film," by jazz journalist Bert Noglik
- "Marx, Engels, and the Crisis of Communist Triumphalism in East Berlin," by historian Brian Ladd