Memories of Rain -

Views from the Underground
Szenen aus dem Untergrund
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One of the most important films in this year’s focus on South Africa at the Berlinale was the artistically impressive documentary "Memories of Rain" by Gisela Albrecht and Angela Mai…. (Camera Matthias Seldte). Two portraits, woven into each other, reveal the cost of a struggle for an ideal, the victory without triumph and the losses which the individual suffers. Film und TV Kameramann 3/2004

... a profound picture of the underground struggle unfolds. How could such a perfidious system such as apartheid be upheld for so long? What were the triumphs of the ANC, what were its insoluble exigencies, what price did it demand of the activists? "Memories of Rain" finds answers to these questions. If this is the political cinema that the Berlinale wishes to explore this year, one can look forward to an exciting festival.
Tageszeitung 05.02.04

For the film makers Gisela Albrecht and Angela Mai, who are both biographically linked to South Africa, Memories of Rain is their first film – and probably a life work as well. For ten years they have wrestled with the material, have pieced it together, have combined hundreds of hours of conversations to a meaningful whole and confronted the many talking heads with pictures which tell their own tale: Original locations from that era, for example, whose atmosphere has been well captured by camera man Matthias Seldte. Or the rain, which falls from the sky in increasing torrents.

The result is a vivid film, which intelligently combines very personal questions with the multiple voices of historic experience, and which describes the enthusiasm of a new departure as well as the process of hardening that accompanies the clandestine struggle.
Der Tagesspiegel 06.02.04

The Film uses two former members of the ANC to reflect not only courage and heroism but also the hardship and dirt of political resistance. For almost 10 years the authors questioned the underground resistance fighters Jenny Cargill and Kevin Qhobosheane, two people who deserve to be put on a pedestal for their political past. Yet ….. self-doubt and probing interest in the truth prevent any kind of self-idealisation. Over the course of three hours the phenomenology of the underground struggle is developed, spanning from spying and the transport of bombs in a wedding bouquet to the unbearable isolation of the "moles"– a panorama which draws the observer inexorably into a maelstrom of questions. When does a resistance movement, which uses methods such as torture and execution, lose the values for which it is actually fighting? Does denying one’s opponents their physical inviolacy not always include the loss of one’s own dignity? How does one live under the thin veneer of South African democracy with amnestied butchers whom one fought against for decades? Die Zeit 12.02.04

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