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German Competition 2013
One Fine Line Jo-Anne Velin

An impressionistic road movie on the trail of a concentration camp prisoners’ death march through Lusatia and Saxon Switzerland. A low-key and delicately wrought reflection about home.

One Fine Line

Documentary Film
65 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin
Thomas Beetz, Jo-Anne Velin, Erick Lignon
Katrin Dorner, Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin
Alexander Buck, Martin Steyer, Jo-Anne Velin
There used to be a satellite camp of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the grounds where the Schwarzheide BASF plant’s parking lot is today. In April 1945, the SS sent 1,000 prisoners on a death march from here through Lusatia and Saxon Switzerland to Bohemia. Only 200 of them survived, among them the father of the Canadian Jo-Anne Velin who lives in Berlin today. Her journey through Eastern Saxony – a region removed from the big events but not untouched by history. Velin meets people whose families have lived here for generations and whose children are leaving to get jobs elsewhere. A search for traces beyond the crumbling memorial stones nobody notices any more. Or does the landscape leave traces in us? The director neither confronts nor insists, even when she finds herself in neo-Nazi strongholds. People talk freely about the NPD, saying that they only vote for them as a “cry for help”; a Nazi rally moves ghostlike into the frame. The camera is reserved, doesn’t judge, and Velin carefully arranges fleeting impressions in an image that shows home as a delicate structure.
The off-screen conversations between the director and her daughter revolve around the fine line, visualised in many ways, that ties us to the past. One day it fades away but remains inscribed in us. And sometimes it comes in the shape of a fracture.

Grit Lemke