German Democratic Republic / 1983
29 min. / Original version with English subtitles
Roughly 100 kilometres from the Polish border lies the German hamlet of Bärwalde. In the early 1980s, Gautam Bora, an international student at the University of Film and Television in Babelsberg (HFF), made the region his subject for EIN HERBST IM LÄNDCHEN BÄRWALDE, capturing a precise moment in its annual farming season.
Stylistically, the film adheres to the HFF’s then-established commitment to social realist documentary, portraying daily life in East Germany in a television-friendly style guided by an admirable clarity of vision. Bora and cinematographer Marwan Salamah’s attention to detail also adds a subtle, indelible sense of the poetic. Throughout we see images of hands, tools, fabrics or the specific crops that have received care for the previous several months, each quietly communicating as much about life and labour as the first-person interviews they appear alongside. Such directorial sensitivity is equally seen in the space the film offers to not only the men but also the women, working with equal dedication inside the home or the adjacent barnyards. The print was recently digitised and restored by the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF. (Jesse Cumming)
Production Hans-Jürgen Groschupp. Production company Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen der DDR (Potsdam-Babelsberg, German Democratic Republic). Director Gautam Bora. Screenplay Dieter Schumann, Gautam Bora. Cinematography Marwan Salamah, Mousa Maragha, Tony Loeser. Editing Gerda von Dorszewski. Sound Horst Schandy, Rainer Mischke.
Gautam Bora, born in Guwahati, Assam, India in 1953, he studied art before moving to Europe, where he studied film directing at the HFF Potsdam-Babelsberg between 1976 and 1983. It was here that his short film EIN HERBST IM LÄNDCHEN BÄRWALDE was made in 1982. Afterwards he worked as an actor and director. His film WOSOBIPO was shown at the Berlinale Forum in 1991. Today Gautam Bora is a well-known Indian politician.
Films: 1983: Ein Herbst im Ländchen Bärwalde. 1986: Weavers of the Golden Thread. 1988: Pratham Ragini. 1991: Wosobipo / The Cuckoo's Call (138 min.). 2003: Sons of Abotani: The Missings.