In Vom Verschwinden, an eleven-year-old boy tells three stories about his family off-screen: that of his great-grandmother Ida, that of his grandmother Angelika and that of his father. In all three of them, personal destinies bear witness to different phases in the history of East Germany after the Second World War until 1989. All the stories—war, flight, expulsion, violence, firing orders—are set in relation to a particular landscape—the "romantic" Stubnitz, a wooded area on the island of Rügen, where Caspar David Friedrich's famous chalk cliffs form the rural border to the Baltic Sea.

The steady camera constantly portrays trees, stones, chalk and water. In the imagination of the child narrator, this landscape is now two things: a place of escape for his family and at the same time a repository for all the traumatizing family stories. The forest has ears, the sea is a brain, says the boy. He wonders what he—in this day and age—should entrust to this landscape. He talks about the fact that this famous landscape itself will disappear. What would ultimately emerge from this destruction? Flight and expulsion again? War again? The impending climate change is thus set in relation to the tragedies of the 20th century that were thought to have been overcome.

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Vom Verschwinden
Sven Johne
1 channel video, color video, stereo audio
3840px x 2160px, 15'50"