Persistence

1997 | 01:23:53 | Germany / United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | 16mm film

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Architecture, City, Diary, Documentary, Eastern European, Experimental Film, History, Landscape, Memory, Politics, Time

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"Persistence was shot in 1991-92 in Berlin, and edited with films by U.S. Signal Corps cameramen in 1945-46, obtained from Department of Defense archives. Interspersed through these materials are filmic quotations from Rossellini's Germany Year Zero (1946). A meditation on the time just after a great historical event, about what is common to moments such as these—the continuous and discontinuous threads of history—and our attachment to cinematic modes of observation that, by necessity, shape our view of events.

The texts are drawn from the notebooks of Max Frisch, Stig Dagerman, and Janet Flanner—just after World War II—and my own journals from my stay in Berlin in 1991-92. Most often, their journal entries appear over contemporary footage, often my own entries are over the archival materials. Sometimes a date clues the viewer to the displacement, sometimes not."

-- Dan Eisenberg

"Eisenberg uses the temporal and spatial plasticity of cinema to produce a way of rethinking the narrative possibilities of historical representation. In the context of Berlin as a physical site in transition, the film calls into question linear and causal narratives of historical time to suggest a history of superimposition and simultaneity, raising the possibility that, in the filmmaker's words, "What is present now may also have been present before, and what is absent now may be present tomorrow."

-- Jeffrey Skoller, "Reconstructing Berlin", Afterimage 26:1 (July/August 1998)

This title is also available on POSTWAR: The Films of Daniel Eisenberg.

 

Premiere

Berlin Film Festival
Berlin
1997