Between Dream and Reality

Premiere of the desert adventure of the Falkensee production firm Micafilm, shot on Polaroid


Karen Grunow, MŠrkische Allgemeine, p.17, 12/14/09


FALKENSEE/BERLIN  We are all Lubitsch. Even on the day after the premiere, the stamp shows clearly on the lower arm of everyone who wanted to see the most recent film of the Falkensee production firm Micafilm. Till Death Do Us Part was shown at the Babylon Cinema in Berlin.

The idea of inserting intertitles into the pictorial sequence of Polaroid photos by the artist Stefanie Schneider awakens associations with the silent film era. In that sense the site for the premiere was well-chosen, inasmuch as even today silent films are presented with live musical accompaniment in the Hans-Poelzig-Complex. With Schneider's film Till Death Do Us Part, realized with the support of Micafilm, there was also music after the film: The main protagonist, Daisy McCrackin, had composed the soundtrack for the 31-minute-long story of love and separation, after which she gave a short concert.

Stefanie Schneider, trained at the Folkwang-Schule in Essen, became famous with Polaroid photographs: She works with expired film material which is not always free of defects. This creates effects which Stefanie Schneider cannot influence but most certainly seeks. Her photographs from the California desert seem like images created in atmospheric colors. The glaring sunlight in the barren landscape establishes the fundamental tone, Eugen Blume from the Hamburger Bahnhof once observed in an endeavor to explain how Stefanie Schneider's so highly artificial pictorial worlds represent an American truth for him. She herself rhapsodizes: "There is nothing like Polaroid. Right from the beginning, it looks different than reality, and you seem to hit upon entirely different aspects, because this moment both brings life to a standstill and simultaneously is so vivid an instant of life." Together with the James-Bond director Marc Forster, for whose film Stay she was responsible for the optics, she set up the project 29 Palms, CA. The two wanted to make an entire feature film on Polaroid. Till Death Do Us Part now represents, as it were, an episode of this overall project. With the support of the two experienced television producers Mirjana Momirovic and Caroline Haertel from Micafilm in Falkensee, Stefanie Schneider was able to shoot the film in the summer of 2008.

It recounts the love story of Cristal (Daisy McCrackin) and Margarita (Austen Tate). The two women encounter each other in the desert, at the desolate trailer park 29 Palms. Both want to make a break with their past and, amid the solitude, in their longing for a new beginning, they soon become enamored of each other.

Functioning extremely well is the experiment of setting photo alongside photo, but interrupted by short film sequences shot in Super-8. This alters customary viewing habits, demonstrates that a picture can definitely capture the mood and idea of an entire protracted scene. A film which is a plea for the power of photography, which reduces the act of seeing to its essential elements.

A success for the two ladies of the Falkensee film production. Caroline Haertel, who is praised by an exuberant Stefanie Schneider as "the very best producer in the world," calls the film a "project of the heart." It is a women's project in all aspects. "Utterly crazy," says Barbara HŠbe from Arte. After the well-attended premiere at the Babylon Cinema, she relates that she was swept away by the forceful current of the images. Arte was responsible, together with the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, for the financing of the project. Some of the photos from the film may currently be seen at the Artbar 71 in Berlin.


Info: The exhibition 29 Palms, CA will run until January 23, 2010 at the Artbar 71, Kronenstra§e 71, Berlin-Mitte, open daily from 7:00 p.m. Further information concerning the photo-film project of Stefanie Schneider may be found at