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In Memoriam Petra Tschörtner
Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg - Begegnungen zwischen dem 1. Mai und 1. Juli 1990 Petra Tschörtner

Shot between 1 May and 1 July 1990, in the country called GDR which still bore its name but had ceased to exist. Departures and ruptures, anarchy and helplessness.

Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg - Begegnungen zwischen dem 1. Mai und 1. Juli 1990

Documentary Film
GDR
1990
75 minutes
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Fritz Hartthaler, DEFA-Studio für Dokumentarfilme GmbH
Petra Tschörtner
Michael Lösche
Angelika Arnold
Petra Tschörtner, Jochen Wisotzki, Dramaturg: Gerd Kroske
Ulrich Fengler, Uve Haußig
Three elderly women are strolling down the street. One of them is singing, the second a little embarrassed, the third is walking a long way ahead. A little while later they sit in a pub and raise their glasses. They are cheerful. Still later there’s dancing and in the breaks they talk about their lives. Quite casually. The war, the husband lost in the war, hard times and all that. The Wall is gone, something new is about to start. But it won’t get better for them, they know that. The little people always get the short end of the stick. Then they dance and laugh again.
“Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg”, shot between 1 May and 1 June 1990, black and white, 35 mm. One of the last films produced by the Berlin DEFA documentary studio, directed by Petra Tschörtner. It’s a chronicle of those three months in the GDR, a country that still had its name but had ceased to exist. An interstice. A time of dreams of departure and the awareness of ruptures, anarchy and helplessness.
“We need revolution,” the band “Herbst in Peking” sings. Too late, the images suggest. There’s a wasteland where the Wall once stood; images that evoke Berlin after the end of the war in 1945. The images recalling the post-war era recur again and again. Prenzlauer Berg was her neighbourhood; this is where she and many of their friends lived. She knew every stone, every shop, the pubs and Konnopke’s currywurst stand.
“What’s most fascinating about this neighbourhood?”, she asks photographer Harald Hauswald. “The intimacy, which is probably gone now, which used to be part of it. It was so close here, tight, in a positive sense. The people are changing. The openness that used to exist is bound to suffer.” “Right”,says a voice from behind the camera. Petra’s voice.
Petra Tschörtner studied film at the HFF University of Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg from 1978 to 1983. Her films are very close, warm-hearted tales of ordinary people she meets, tender ones of her fellow students who live scattered across the whole world, of her friends. “Waiting on a Friend” by the Stones is the title song of her film “Marble, Stone and Iron.” She had a special talent for friendship.
“Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg” and “Marble, Stone and Iron” are farewell films, never nostalgic, but fundamentally sad. She worked as an assistant director for feature film productions, taught at the HFF, kept writing new projects.
In July 2012, Petra Tschörnter died far too young.

– Tamara Trampe

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