ZEMENT / CEMENT
D /AUT, 12:30 min, 2014
in collaboration with Bettina Nürnberg
Texte und Interviews: Peter Egger
Sounddesign: Christian Obermaier
Sprecherin: Christine Groß
Verleih: sixpackfilm wien
Der Film "Zement" setzt sich mit der Vergangenheit und Gegenwart einer Wohnsiedlung auseinander, die unmittelbar nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg auf dem Gelände eines ehemaligen Konzentrationslagers errichtet wurde. Wasserleitungen, Kanalisation und das Straßensystem des Lagers wurden übernommen. Materialien teilweise verbaut. Der erhaltene Torbogen des Lagertores führt noch heute in die Häusersiedlung.
The film "Cement" grapples with the past and present of a residential development built in the aftermath of World War II on the site of a former concentration camp. The housing development retained the erstwhile camp's water supply, sewage system, and roads, and reclaimed some of its materials. The arched gate to the camp still stands to this day, and leads into the housing development.
„A ferry crosses a lake, accompanied by a Gustav Mahler symphony. Although this beginning of Zement signalizes a Heimatfilm (a sentimental film in a regional setting), Bettina Nürnberg and Dirk Peuker are after something different with their documentary essay. In what at first glance are idyllic landscape images from the Salzkammergut, they expose traces of the Nazi past. An official remembrance culture seems to point to them only sparingly, a bit bashfully, meaning that the corresponding signs in the images are difficult to represent.
The Nazis set up a concentration camp in Ebensee. Nürnberg and Peuker wonder what conclusions they can draw from the topography about dealing with the past. The takes remain static; a woman’s voice dryly contributing information from off screen is all that clarifies the context within contemporary history. A site that looks like a dirt road turns out to be the “Löwengang (Lion’s Walk),” which the camp’s prisoners were driven down like animals to reach a tunnel that had to be dug.
As soon as the film moves to the residential area that was founded on the site of the concentration camp shortly after the end of the war, surprise at the lack of sensitivity in dealing with the past mixes into the off-screen commentary. The camp’s gate remains standing, as a memorial. Walking through it, one arrives at the houses, which are located close by the cemetery for the victims. What Zement aims to get at is the ambiguity of this proximity of commemorative site and settlement. There are hardly any people visible in the images, silence reigns, and yet we hear about memorial celebrations that were disturbed by the sounds of lawn mowers. Everyday life at a site where all ordinary life seems out of place—or was it truly an act of ignorance?“