MEIN LEBEN TEIL 2 starts with the archive of the filmmaker's mother, who collected and archived her own life story. ""Based on objects, photos, sound and film recordings, I narrate what has been told and also not told in the family. The film is about traumatization and simultaneously about how macro- and micro-levels permanently produce history, archive it, include it in a discourse and classify it - and how I myself continue to collect so that everything together results in a narrative."
On my 18th birthday, my mother handed me a piece of paper on which she had written 10 points that she wanted to pass on to me in adulthood. Item one read: “The purpose of our lives is to evolve towards perfection. Nothing that is created and good is ever thrown away. Everything builds on previous achievements.
You are descended from Joseph’s brother Levi, who lived 3,000 years ago.“ My mother collated and archived her own life. I inherited it and made it into a film that is primarily about perception, my legacy and addressing history.
My film is an attempt to tell what was told and not told in my family, using objects, photos, audio and video material. The film is about trauma and at the same time about how history can be produced, archived, brought into conversations and categories, ed both at the macro- and microlevel, and how I continued to collect so that I could tell a story. (Angelika Levi)
It’s very hard to avoid thinking in terms of perpetrators and victims.
I deliberately avoided it while working with the material because I thought it was important to show the complexity of the connections. It was a process. I think I used to want to identify more strongly with the Jewish side and leave out the contradictions. Working on the film helped me to begin seeing things much
more precisely. I also tried to portray my mother and grandmother not as victims, but as women who fought in their own way (mainly with humor and irony) and developed their own ways of transforming painful experiences into stories, suffering into something bearable. (from an interview by Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, 2003)
The film is a box within a box. On the outside there is the story of her family and the story of her mother’s life. But it soon becomes apparent that the filmmaker has ordered her mother’s records in such a way that she is using the archive to reflect on what needed to be suppressed or displaced, and what has to be put right: the grandmother’s, mother’s and daughter’s sensitivity to the “German situation,“ the power of the generation of perpetrators and collaborators to say what is and is not true, and their descendents, who seem to enjoy the privilege of not having to consider their family’s past. It is a sensitivity deemed pathological by the majoritarian society in order to distract attention away from itself. (Madeleine Bernstorff)