A Lonely City
Eine einsame StadtNicola Graef
Competition for the Audience Award 2020
Loneliness has many faces in Berlin. Young and old are afflicted by it, men, women, single and married people. It’s normal. Nonetheless there’s a stigma attached to this mixture of emotions that makes sufferers stay silent. Director Nicola Graef tries a different approach in her film: She lets the lonely inhabitants of the capital city speak, listens. The result is varied and quite often surprising.
Berlin is a city for extroverts, Tessa thinks. The young woman’s mind, however, is on the opposite site. The consequence is loneliness and that “is quite draining”, she says. 85-year-old Efraim, a photographer and flaneur, has found a confident way to deal with those nagging feelings: He’s “not the type for marriage” anyway. Artist Thomas, on the other hand, suffers from the end of a long-term love affair and wonders whether “the icing sugar is all kissed away by the age of 50”, but also says: “There is a market for everything, even for broken cars.” Poised and affectionate, we move through the expanses of the city in Graef’s film, where stories sprout like weeds between the cobblestones. From the corner pub to the artist’s studio, from the parks to the sports club and, time and again, into the silent flats – she encounters her witnesses to emptiness everywhere. Their reports are moving, but they never make us feel hopeless.