The Home and the World: Köhler and Winckler’s "A Voluntary Year"

Published on Feb 14, 2020

The Home and the World: Köhler and Winckler’s "A Voluntary Year"

One of the enduring peculiarities about the so-called Berlin School of contemporary German filmmaking is that, among the various filmmakers who have been associated with the group, the work they produce exhibits great stylistic variety. What seems to unite them, apart from a few biographical particularities, is an intellectual orientation toward filmmaking, an attitude toward structure and representation that nevertheless yields vastly divergent results. For instance, Christophe Hochhäusler and Nicolas Wackerbarth have both been involved in the foundational film magazine Revolver, a publication that displays a specific orientation toward both German and international art cinema—a throughline that runs between the historical materialism of Harun Farocki and Romuald Karmakur and the somewhat more abstract lyricism of Apichatpong Weerasethakul. But a comparison of Hochhäusler and Wackerbarth’s films reveals radically different formal approaches.A Voluntary Year, the recent film collaboration between directors Ulrich Köhler and Henner Winckler, provides a unique case

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