23 May, 2011

David Lynch: A People's People

Did any of you watch the series, Interview Project, by David Lynch? He went from the east coast to the west coast, interviewing people in apparently a very happenstance way. The interviews are short portraits of these people's lives. Collectively, they create a portrait of a country.

He's now doing a series, Interview Project Germany. The interviewees speak their dialect or local accent, but there are subtitles. Even if you do not like reading subtitles, please spend some time and reading them, for often what the people say is touchingly vulnerable and honest. What I like about these three interviews is the fact that the people live(d) modest lives, but seem genuinely happy with them.

Can you hear the difference between the way that Karl speaks and Luci? Luci comes out of ex-DDR. When the Berlin Wall went down over twenty years ago, the life she knew up to that date vanished. I was talking to a friend of mine recently about why it is that foreigners living in Germany don't say they are German, even after they have received citizenship. She responded with the fact that she feels she is a East Berliner and not a German. The area that she grew up in, the education she received, the social values she was raised in, they have changed or disappeared. This is not to say she is unhappy. Contrarily, like Luci, there is an acceptance mixed in with loss of that what they once held dear.

Then there is Betty, who talks about dressing up fashionably in the 60s and 70s. It's hard to imagine bellbottoms and hot pants. Friday night disco in the local bar. Yet, it is reassuring to know that she did live those moments.

Do enjoy.


  1. Fascinating. And in many ways so different from the Germans I grew up with. Maybe because I lived in a big city and never had much exposure to small town life in Germany. I am not sure I share your impression that all these people are genuinely happy in their modest lives. Yes, they have accepted what is, but I also sense the underlying melancholy that is so inherent of the German character. Very interesting, thanks for sharing this!

  2. Kirsten, you are right, genuinely happy is the wrong expression. Content or accepting. The melancholy or sadness is also there.

  3. What a great project... will have to look when I'm more awake...