DOK Leipzig Film Festival

Living in Demmin

Living in Demmin

“After all, these are not good memories, fun memories. And really, that time is buried.” Between 30 April and 4 May 1945, several hundred civilians commited mass suicide in the Pomeranian town of Demmin. There was desperation between the ideological void and the fear of the Red Army. Whole families drowned, hanged or poisoned themselves. The nervousness of the old citizens of Demmin whom Martin Farkas visits is still noticeable: not a hand that stays motionless during the interview – they are rubbed against skirts or twitch all over the place. One inhabitant describes the perfection of the city before the war and the “tinkering” that began after it was over and is still going on today. “Tinkering” is not a bad term for what is going on in Demmin and what Farkas is looking to illustrate in his film. There are the right wing extremists who abuse the consequences of that mass hysteria as an occasion for an annual funeral march on 8 May, the anniversary of the German surrender. There are the citizens of Demmin who turn away, part disgusted, part indifferent. There are counter-rallies and a few mostly contemporary witnesses, who open up about their memories for the first time after 70 years.

Carolin Weidner

Nominated for Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize
Original Title: Über Leben in Demmin
Country: Germany
Year: 2017
Language: German
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 90 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Martin Farkas
Producer: Annekatrin Hendel
Cinematographer: Roman Schauerte, Martin Farkas, Martin Langner
Editor: Jörg Hauschild, Catrin Vogt
Music: Mathis Nitschke
Sound: Moritz Springer, Urs Krüger
Script: Martin Farkas

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig 2017 catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author's name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.