Ödenwaldstetten (Peter Nestler, 1964) - 36’
“For me, it is an image of Germany and its history encapsulated in one village. If you broach the subject of history in Ödenwaldstetten, like elsewhere in Germany, you’ll always end up confronting what happened during the Nazi period. But if you brought up this subject in those days, you’d be accused of ‘fouling one’s own nest.’ Therefore the film was controversial because it directly confronted the Nazi past, resulting in the form of the film being criticised as ‘unprofessional’. In Ödenwaldstetten, I only used the farmers’ statements. I lived with an old farmer for a couple of weeks and, whilst drinking beers during the evenings, I’d take note of his comments, which word for word became the so-called commentary... Before it was aired I was asked to make some modifications to it, with the argument that the public wouldn’t understand the film. The farmers’ statements couldn’t be presented on their own, they needed to be explained. I refused to make any changes to it and interpreted such a request as disdainful towards the viewers.” (Peter Nestler)
Die Judengasse (Peter Nestler, 1988) - 44’
“I did the camera work for the first time for Peter in Frankfurt for the film Judengasse (1988). But we had already met 20 years earlier, after he made Mülheim-Ruhr, which I considered style-setting at that time and still do so: a poetic camera film steeped in deep sympathy for those disregarded and ignored by the mainstream, i.e. workers, victims of persecution and minorities. We both belong to a generation that has been confronted with the aftermath of war and racism. There was a wordless agreement like in the filmic craftsmanship and in our approach to human beings in front of the camera.” (Rainer Komers on his collaboration as cameraman with Peter Nestler)
Martin Grennberger of Magasinet Walden had a conversation with Peter Nestler on the occasion of the 2012 retrospective at Tate Modern and Goethe Institut in London. Read the short version here on Mubi.