Two sisters, portrayed by Farocki’s twin daughters Anna and Lara, play through their visual impressions at bedtime before falling asleep: “I’ve seen a man who had claws on his feet and could climb up the trunk of a tree with them.” Or: “Have you ever seen a car that grew out of a wall?” And then the director surprises us with the solution of this puzzle.
“There is so much to see in the world! Harun Farocki’s bedtime stories for children, produced in the 1970s for the television formats Sandmännchen and Sesamstraße, are about marveling eyes. Farocki shows surprising things in the world that children observe every day and are fascinated by.”
Harun Farocki Retrospective1
“The five Einschlafgeschichten are bed-time stories for children, made 1976/77, in which Farocki uses simple objects to elucidate cinematographic method. […]
The stories deal with bridges, cable cars and ships crossing roads. What is worth saying? What is worth remembering? The two girls in the film imagine what is shown. Bridges that move. Something quite different to ‘bridges’. […]
As if pictures could think! Einschlafgeschichten doesn’t really speak of bridges or railroads but rather of two girls filling the space between daytime and dreamtime with a poetic game, an endless game, a game with no end. A game which can fade out without becoming fragmentary. ‘Are you asleep?’, one of them asks at the end of a clip – and the final shot is of the two, asleep; the game is over. The girls are played by Lara and Anna, Farocki’s daughters.”
Hans J. Wulff2