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A complex audio-visual investigation of the interconnections between politics, colonialism, scholarship, and media – using image and sound documents of Indian and North African prisoners of war from the "Halfmoon Camp" in Wünsdorf near Berlin from the period of the First World War. In other words: a ghost story.

Since the invention of the phonograph it has become possible for the dead to speak. Their voices haunt the film. The voice of the Indian colonial soldier Mall Singh, for example, played from an old record. The "exotic" prisoners became research objects for ethnologists, anthropologists, and linguists. Recordings were made; they were photographed, filmed, measured, numbered, registered, classified. The Halfmoon Files, however, doesn't just present the archive material and examine the conditions of its creation and usefulness for political goals, it releases it into the freedom of the narrative. Small stories and big history. This is how the loose ends of research become independent, which has surprising consequences – and itself produces historical moments that contribute to the writing of history. Don't images and sounds, conveyed these days by internet-telephone, have something ghostly about them?

Birgit Kohler

Production: Pong, Berlin

Screenplay, Sound, Editor, Producer: Philip Scheffner

Cinematographer: Philip Scheffner, Astrid Marschall

Format: DigiBeta PAL (shot on MiniDV), Color

Running time: 87 minutes

Languages: German, English, Hindi, Punjabi, Gurkha

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur