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Ich war zuhause, aber...

Angela Schanelec‘s film ICH WAR ZUHAUSE, ABER… is a film about carrying on after a catastrophe.


You could attach the entire academic toolbox to this film: the history of post-dramatic theater since the 80s, montage techniques, language experiments, the choreographies, the choirs, the numbers replacing big dramatic arcs. Or thinking about representation not just in terms of gender theory. You could do all that. But you don‘t have to.

Let’s dance for fear your grace should fall. Let’s dance for fear that life is all.

The woman lies on a rock near a river. The children play in the water. The the children dance and the woman is in a hospital, serious, with music by M.Ward who brings the sadness of David Bowie‘s “Let‘s Dance“ to the surface that was hidden behind peach-colored suits and the Nile Rodgers groove. They dance, but it doesn‘t look like it‘s giving them anything. But still. They dance like this in Godard‘s BANDE À PART too. You notice how much you miss the Nouvelle Vague in Angela Schanelec‘s film. You haven‘t seen something like this in a long time. No one sees something like this anymore.

The woman can get intense sometimes. Otherwise no one gets upset. The others speak words as if they have encountered it for the first time, as if they don‘t know the feelings these words are attached to. This gives their words a strange weight, as if they‘re new and solitary. But the woman gets intense. An artist, filmmaker, who has applied for a professorship with a film in which actors and dancers do something with the dying. The woman thinks it‘s fake because the theater lies and death is the truth. Her husband died 2 years ago, he was a theater director, like Jürgen Gosch, Angela Schanelec‘s partner who died in 2009. ICH WAR ZUHAUSE, ABER… is also a film about grief, but also about the theater and about the truth.

The woman has two children, a small daughter and an older son who went missing, now he‘s back again. His coat is so dirty. The woman wants to have it cleaned. It won‘t come out, says the dry cleaner. Will you try anyway? She wants to try. It‘s about carrying on, about collecting yourself.

Angela Schanelec‘s film won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale for best direction, which was contentious, of course. The film isn‘t for everyone, but mostly because there are so few films like it anymore that are different in this way. In theater the forms of Schanelec‘s film has been a proven method for a long time, playing with speech techniques, movements, and body posture. In film it‘s a shock when German stars like Lilith Stangenberg and Franz Rogowski talk about love, marriage, having children, and loneliness as if they‘re machines. Every image says: I‘m an excerpt, not of this world, but of a consciousness. The camera, which only moves when it has to, the cuts that create small movements, highlight that, How do you connect something, the editing seems to ask, just like the film asks how we can connect to the world, to a person, to a loss, to something. But, this is great art.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Ich war zuhause, aber...
Deutschland/Serbien 2019, 105 min
Language: German
Genre: Drama
Director: Angela Schanelec
Author: Angela Schanelec
DOP: Ivan Marković
Distributor: Piffl Medien
Cast: Maren Eggert, Franz Rogowski, Lilith Stangenberg, Jakob Lassalle, Clara Möller
FSK: 6
Release: 15.08.2019




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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