Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

Andrew Hull

1993, 56:00 minutes, colour, German


Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain is an exploration of the legacy of the Bitterfield Palace of Culture in the former Federal Republic of Germany. Built in 1952, this building was the first in what would be a series of Culture houses throughout the country. It was here that the official cultural policy of the GDR was determined in what became to be known as the Bitterfield way. Now after the dramatic changes brought on by unification, this enormous theatre complex stands virtually empty, one of the may unwanted reminders of the recent past. Its future uncertain, it hovers, a haunting time capsule from another era.
Intermingling archival, interviews and fictional material the video creates a dreamlike atmosphere that captures the air of uncertainty and denial prevalent in the former East Germany. Various interviews with both East and West Germans and their connections to the Culture Palace touch on the social and political realitites of a newly unified Germany. The fictional narrative involving A worker, a cosmonaut, and two state security agents is woven into the interviews to dramatize some of the unspoken aspects of life in the German Democratic Republic.
Raising questions about culture in both East and West, the video comes to an ironic ending with all the characters both real and fictional, involved in the taping of Gluck Muss Mann Haben (You Gotta Have Luck) A painfully westernized television game show on the stage of what was once a palace of culture.

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