3 November 2005 | joelw26
Difficult to sit through, but quite worth the time
This film is a documentary in the truest sense of the word. There is no commentary, no music, no quick cutting, just image upon image, all of which help document the weeks following the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. The drama, in this case, is supposed to deal with the problem of currency in the NEW Germany. The title, "Countdown", was intended to count down to the moment Germany decided which currency to use, post-WALL, but it accieves SO MUCH MORE than that (And thank GOD, because that's a pretty da*n boring subject for a film, documentary or not).
Ottinger takes her camera absolutely everywhere. These images are not immediately breathtaking, but eventually we get to see some rather telling moments between East and West Germans. The most incredible being this: The camera is set right on the wall's fault line. A hole is being made. We can see people picking away at it from both sides. A little girl dressed in pink picks away on one side, while an old man picks away on the other. The little girl drops her hammer and it falls onto the OTHER side of the wall. Without missing a beat, the old man picks the girl's hammer up and hands it back to her THROUGH the hole in WALL! The little girl smiles at the old man, there's a beat of silence, and then they both resume their picking. THIS IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE MOMENT! Generations of Germans were picking away at years of oppression, and Ottinger captured the essence of it! Once again, with no commentary, no music, no quick-cutting... JUST LIFE! I dare not write more, as doing so would cheapen the true nature of PURE cinema for those who'll actually watch the film. It's an amazing achievement, and I hope you'll all give it a chance.