Blue sky behind thick wire rope in the foreground. A slow camera movement, the sound of a switch, the murmur of an audio tape rolling. Then the soft singsong of a voice, somewhat distorted. This is how the film begins. Childhood memories are what Otto Dov Kulka speaks into the tape recorder. Memories of the beauty of the summer sky over Auschwitz-Birkenau.
For decades, Kulka created a metaphorical world in diaries and tape recordings. A world that was long accessible only to himself. The film traces the inner landscapes. Finds images for the words. Dives deep within.
Long, steady camera settings accompany the hypnotically slow storytelling about the Metropolis of Death. Kulka in the wasteland of the Dead Sea. Wavering heat, salt mist. He speaks of hardship and cruelty – and the dream landscape on the other side. Kulka, alone in a sea of red upholstered seats in a theater. Dreams of the impossibility of escape and of getting away. An orange grove, an image of the hope for a new life. Inside himself, Kulka remains a lifelong prisoner of Auschwitz, but the blue sky is his refuge. Kulka’s landscapes are also an act of empowerment in the face of great death. Poetic and horrific, words and pictures blend together in the film – bearing witness to the burden, as well as the power, of surviving.
It is a film about Auschwitz, about the Great Death. Without actually depicting that place, the pictures of it come closer. We delve ever deeper into the world of Otto Dov Kulkas, following his thoughts about the inexplicability of history. His thinking and writing revolve around the question, “What does Auschwitz mean?” It is an unceasing question. A question that remains.
D, HE, CS
EN, DE, HE, CS, ES