Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Paths in the Night

May 18, 2015 - Conor Clarke

Wege in die Nacht (Paths in the Night), directed by Andreas Kleinert (1999) An eerily stunning and haunting film, Wege in die Nacht is about the social and emotional demise of a man who is not able to adapt to life in post-unified Berlin. Walter was once a respected man, a communist, with an important role at a power plant in the former GDR. He is now unemployed; left feeling powerless, frustrated and angry. He appoints himself as keeper of justice with two young recruits (René and Gina). They patrol the trains by night, beating those that assault or insult fellow commuters. It is Walter's way of asserting control over a society he is loosing control of. As he begins to lose grip on reality and rational thought, his marriage falls apart and he slides into a life of drinking and crime until his eventual demise. He is a conflicting character, easy to feel sorry for, but difficult to like. “For me, the most important aspect was the self-esteem of a human being. What happens when someone no longer feels needed, is no longer capable of finding a place for himself in society?” - Kleinert Throughout the film, Walter visits the power plant where he used to work. We are rewarded with stunningly bleak details and vistas from this former functional landscape. It is a desolate scene, the power plant lying partly in ruin - a fitting backdrop for a lonely character falling into a deep depression. The former cooling towers at the plant have become a home to pigeons, and although the towers are no longer active in the film, the scene with the birds reminds me of an experience in Duisburg-Hamborn last year. I watched two birds flying in and out of the steam - they would dive into it, and let the steam lift them up swiftly into the sky. They repeated this over and over for around 20 minutes, it was some sort of a game. I appreciate these moments where industry and nature overlap, adapt. Thanks to Maria Kamutzki for the film recommendation!! Watch the trailer via Filmgalerie 451 here.