This double DVD comprises all three of Antonio Skármeta's films shot during his exile in Berlin in the 1980s: His award-winning story about Pablo Neruda and a simple postman, which was also published as a novel and later famously re-filmed as Il Postino; the portrait of a three-generation Chilean family living in a Berlin apartment; and a cinematic diary, in which Skármeta visits other Chilean artists in exile. These films cast light on the everyday occurrences in a life shaped by politics the hope, the joy and the humour.
Ardiente Paciencia / Mit brennender Geduld - West-Germany 1983 - Directed and written by: Antonio Skármeta - Photographed by: Joao Abel-Abolm - Music by: Roberto Lecaros - Cast: Oscar Castro, Roberto Parada, Marcela Osorio, Naldy Hernández, Antonio Skármeta sen. - Produced by: Von Vietinghoff Filmproduktion, Berlin / Prole-Film, Lisbon - Premiere: September 15, 1983 (ZDF)
Abschied in Berlin / Despedida en Berlín - West-Germany 1984 - Directed and written by: Antonio Skármeta - Photographed by: Konrad Kotowski - Music by: Roberto Lecaros - Cast: Käte Jaenicke, Bernhard Veith, Gabriel Skármeta, Ernesto Malbrán, Paulina Landea, Antje Jaenicke, Roberto Lecaros, Mathieu Carričre - Produced by: Von Vietinghoff Filmproduktion, Berlin / Prole-Film, Lisbon - Premiere: Januar 2, 1984 (ZDF)
Wenn wir zusammen lebten ... - West-Germany 1983 - Directed and written by: Antonio Skármeta - Photographed by: Leonardo de la Barra - Music by: Sergio Vesely - Cast: Antonio Skármeta, Sergio Vesely, Nelson Villagra, Oscar Castro, Anita Castro - Produktion: Von Vietinhoff Filmproduktion, Berlin - Premiere: Februar 20, 1983 (Berlinale, Filmmesse)
About the films
These three films that are being released by the Goethe-Institut arose from my experiences as an exile. They are best understood in the context of the special situation of West Berlin at that time the city which was always bound up with cinema for me. It was the German film maker Peter Lilienthal who initially made it possible for me to leave my home country of Chile, which was under the rule of a dictator at the time. I was eventually awarded a grant by the DAAD as part of its Berlin artists' programme. At that time I was already residing in Berlin with my family, writing scripts for the talented Peter Lilienthal, a director who had won several German film awards. The films included Es herrscht Ruhe im Land and Der Aufstand, on which I collaborated. As a result of the attention these films garnered, I was invited to work as a lecturer at the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie, where for several years I assisted young writers, directors and students in making their own films. It was within this stimulating atmosphere that my own ambitions to make films were born.
As an exile, I had the impression that many people in West Berlin could totally relate to my pain, desperation and my hopes of one day being able to return to a new, democratic Chile. So it was no big surprise that television channels and film producers showed an interest in my subject and supported these projects. It was very fortunate for me that people in the film and media industries in Germany felt great compassion for, and solidarity with, Latin America though also with Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.
It was due to this that I was able to realize these three films, enjoying great artistic freedom in the work process: They are based on my own experiences and impressions, and I was given great support by producers at the television channels. These films are characterized by the experience of exile, and although they are a consequence of distressing circumstances, and at times dramatic situations, they nonetheless project hope, joie de vivre, and humour. Despite the everyday problems that we exiles experienced, we were convinced that by remaining true to our history and ideals we would one day help restore freedom in our homelands.
I am now writing these lines from Chile, which has once again been returned to democracy: As have Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, which were also formerly under the rule of dictatorships. Other countries on different continents have experienced a similar fate. For exiles from many different countries, West Berlin was not just a temporary stopover, it was a place we could call home, a place to realize our work and a city we grew to love.
When these films were made, the prospect of a democratic Latin America still seemed like a distant dream. It is very gratifying for me that despite the desperation of those times, we had the inspiration to project the future through our art in the only form that seemed realistic to us back then: As a type of nostalgia, like a dream.
Although many decades have passed since the making of Mit brennender Geduld, Abschied in Berlin
Wenn wir zusammen lebten...
, it is my deep hope that the spontaneous spirit in which they were created remains tangible, as well as the great affection for this country which gave usrefuge and a wonderful gift: The German language.
DVD features (2-disc DVD)
- Ardiente Paciencia 1983, 77'
- 16 pages trilingual booklet with essays by Antonio Skármeta
- Abschied in Berlin 1984, 68'
- Wenn wir zusammen lebten... 1983, 99'
Edited by: Goethe-Institut Munich and Filmmuseum München
DVD authoring: Tobias Dressel
DVD supervision: Stefan Drössler
First edition December 2014