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To commemorate 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Open City Documentary Festival presents a screening of acclaimed filmmaker Jürgen Böttcher’s seminal documentary, The Wall, taking place as part of the London Festival of Architecture 2019.
Filmed between 1989 and 1990, Böttcher’s impressionistic, painterly study traces the Wall in the days leading up to and during its destruction, as demolition machinery moves in and Berliners begin dismantling it by hand, chipping away at its edifice with small hammers and chisels. Focusing on iconic locations in the centre of Berlin such as the Postdamer Platz, the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, Böttcher reimagines the wall as a screen, projecting historic archival images onto it’s crumbling side: Emperor Wilhelm’s ride through the Brandenburg Gate, the torch-lit procession of the Nazis, the famous image of an East German policeman filmed fleeing to the West in 1961 and, finally, the fall of the Wall itself. Böttcher’s singular images serve as a vital historical record and a poetic contemplation on the symbolic significance of the boundary between east and west and its moment of collapse.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion between experts in film and architecture exploring cinematic and artistic representations of the Berlin Wall in Böttcher’s work and beyond.