The Oscar-nominated Polish-German Documentary returns to the big screen in the U.S., enjoying a two-week run at the Film Forum cinema in downtown New York City. "Rabbit à la Berlin" has six showtimes daily between December 7 - December 21. The film tells the story of the rabbits living the "good life" in the grassy space between the two layers of the Berlin Wall and their fate at the fall of communism and the toppling of the wall...
The Oscar-nominated Polish-German Documentary returns to the big screen in the U.S.
Geoffrey MacNab of The Guardian has described Rabbit à la Berlin
An allegorical study of a totalitarian system. The rabbits are used as a device to burrow into recent east European social history. Just as the rabbits were expelled from their makeshift Eden when the Berlin wall came down, many in the Soviet bloc had to adjust to the strange new post-communist world.
The 2009 documentary film from director Bartek Konopka
and screenwriter Piotr Rosołowski tells the story of the rabbits living in the grassy space between the two layers of the Berlin Wall and their fate at the fall of communism and the toppling of the wall. Rabbit à la Berlin has been shown at a number of documentary film festivals, winning at prestigious events in Kraków (Grand Prix Złoty Lajkonik and Best Producer Award), Toronto (Hot Docs Best Mid-Length Documentary) and Warsaw (Planete Doc Review Best Mid-Length Documentary), and was nominated as one of the candidates for the Hollywood Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards.
Jeanette Catoulis reviewed the film in the December 7th, 2010 edition of the New York Times:
Teasing and shrewd, "Rabbit à la Berlin" is a floppy-eared fable about the uneasy trade-offs between liberty and security. Fondly remembered anecdotes from citizens and former guards alternate with mottled black-and-white photographs and archival film (some of it fake, including bunny footage gleaned from YouTube). Employing wily close-ups of twitching whiskers and soaring sentry boxes, the director, Bartek Konopka — who wrote the story with his cinematographer, Piotr Rosolowski — captures the confusion of the rabbit's-eye view as circumstances and boundaries change, yoking humans and animals to similar fates. Just as the thousands of rabbits who hopped west after the dismantling of the wall would be decimated by dogs and rabbit-stew lovers, their human counterparts would face an uncertain, post-Communist future.
In an interview in the May 7, 2009 issue of Polish daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the film's director Bartosz Konopka explained his take on the film:
There have been many films about the Berlin Wall, but none had our perspective. They said at the Swiss Nyon festival: you can identify the Polish style. There are several dominant directions in the documentary worldwide. What we have got is a particular attitude to history, the language of allusion, the metaphors, pars pro toto. We have surprised the German producers. They had wanted a sarcastic, humorous film for the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall. What they got was a more contemplative work. Aren't we all rabbits which get subjected to experiments, forced into certain situations and roles, manipulated by the corporations, politicians and media? The Berlin rabbits were perfect for demonstrating that. They symbolize the people who sought normalcy within the system as it was. Isn't it also a story about our parents who valued a sense of security and were unable to adapt to freedom, to transformation?
- Rabbit à la Berlin" / "Królik po berlińsku, Poland-Germany 2009. Directed by Bartek (Bartosz) Konopka; written by Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosołowski in association with Mateusz Romaszkan and Anna Wydra; plot consultation: Marcel Łoziński, Jacek Bławut, Maciej Drygas; narration by Michał Ogórek; read by Krystyna Czubówna; photography by Piotr Rosołowski, Thomas Bergmann, Tomasz Głowacki; music by Maciej Cieślak; edited by Mateusz Romaszkan; sound by Radosław Ochnio, Franciszek Kozłowski, Michał Bagiński, Teresa Bagińska. Produced by MS Films. Co-produced by ma.ja.de Filmproduktion (Germany), YLE (Finland), Lichtpunt (Belgium), VPRO (Holland), MDR (Germany), RBB (Germany), ARTE (Germany), TVP S.A. (Poland). Co-financed by the Polish Film Institute and Media Plus. Distribution: Fundacja Promocji Kina Film Polski. Duration: 52 min. Released on December 4, 2009.
The film enjoys a two-week run at the Film Forum cinema in downtown New York City December 7 - December 21 with six show times daily. The film is in German with English subtitles. It is shown along with Nurith Aviv's 2002 short documentary film "Loss" (Israel/Germany/France).
Source: press materials
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