~ Poet: Ulrike Almut Sandig ~

[meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig (6)

A film by Beate Kunath and Marlen Pelny of b-k productions in Germany. The synopsis on YouTube, rendered into English with the help of Google Translate, says something to the effect of

Where is home when she feels nowhere? For some, searching and finding the home is an evolving process, not a self-evident accessory from birth.

This is probably the last film adaptation of Sandig’s poem I’ll be sharing here, though there are certainly some others online that also have points to recommend them. Challenging filmmakers to work with a supplied text does make for an interesting contest; we even did it at Moving Poems back in 2011, with a poem by Howie Good (contest winners here and here). But such an approach tends to favor the merely illustrative, as I think we’ve seen this week with the difficulty filmmakers have had escaping the orbit of the text’s avian imagery. I would instead encourage festival organizers to consider the opposite sort of contest: supply a couple of minutes of footage and challenge filmmakers and writers to make a videopoem out of it. The results would likely be much more varied.

[meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig (5)

A Berlin-centric reimagining of Sandig’s poem by Nigerian-German animator Ebele Okoye. Her description of the film at Vimeo is unusually complete; here’s most of the first half (minus production notes, credits and such):

Berlin Tempelhof, years after 2017: an old woman in the face of advanced recreational activities at the old
airport grounds confusedly recalls her growing-up years and life in a post war Berlin.

The old Tempelhof Airport, one of Europe’s iconic pre-world war II airports ceased operating in 2008. Since then it is being used for recreational activities like windsurfing, kiting etc.
However, before the Airport was built in the mid twenties, it was a vast farmland which played a big role in the life of the inhabitants of Tempelhof. It was the center of their sunday recreational activities which included dog-races etc.

Today, in 2012, the city of Berlin plans to restructure the landscape of the old airport ground and install very modern recreational facilities and one of these is a hill (hence the interpretation of the “bird man” sport)
So conclusively, only MOSTLY people from Berlin will be able to understand it beyond the presented visual abstract, thus making this remain predominantly a Berlin-related interpretation.

[meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig (4)


(English subtitles)

(German subtitles)

This film interpretation of Sandig’s poem was made in Mexico by Stephanie Brewster, with a Spanish translation by Aram Vidal in the soundtrack. Heimat is translated as patria, homeland. I like everything about this except for the inclusion of piano music.

[meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig (3)

This take on Sandig’s poem is by the Belgian filmmaker Jan Peeters.

In his artistic practice, Jan Peeters currently focuses on so-called ‘iconotextual’ works: he merges words (and more precisely, texts that are set typographically) and moving images (with emphasis on filmic images) to form visual-textual unities of content, which cannot be categorised as either pure image or pure text. In these ‘reading films’ he brings together the languages of literature and visual art, without focussing necessarily on certain implicit elements of mainstream film, such as narration, acting or characters.

For full credits and screening information, see the relevant page on his website. The summary reads:

While a university librarian struggles with words at lonely heights,
an old pigeon fancier awaits the homecoming of his pigeons …

[meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig (2)

For the 2012 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, filmmakers were challenged to make a film using a text and reading by the German poet Ulrike Almut Sandig: “[meine heimat]” (“[my home/homeland/native land]”). In all, they received 33 films from 13 countries. Some of them are up on the web, but to date I’ve only shared one, the entry by Belgian filmmaker Swoon (Marc Neys). This week I’ll be posting a few others I like. (Some are fairly long, so it didn’t make sense to cram them all into one post as I did for “A Westray Prayer.”) The animation above is by the always wonderful Susanne Wiegner, who notes:

[meine heimat] is a poem by Ulrike Almut Sandig, that describes a space of memories or a landscape, that is not clearly defined.
“Heimat” is a very special German word, that can’t be translated into other languages, because it means as well a specific place, as a certain landscape or an abstract feeling. During the Third Reich in Germany, the word “Heimat” was barbarously and fanatically glorified and misused with the result that many people lost their “Heimat” and their lives.
In the video a picture of a concentration camp is projected on the letters of the words [meine heimat] blended with a train ride through my own homeland that reminds also of the terrible deportations to show the ambiguity, that you feel as a German when you think about your “Heimat”.

[meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig

The 2012 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival has introduced a new contest, inviting filmmakers to

make a film of the poem [meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig. The directors of the three best films will be invited to come to Berlin to meet the poet and have the opportunity of presenting their films and talking about them.

This is Swoon‘s entry. Ulrike Almut Sandig’s webpage is here, and there’s a bio in English at the online journal No Man’s Land.