Berlin – a blend of many realities that is unique among the capitals of the Western World. Heritage and modernity, counter-culture and the mainstream live side by side. But Berlin is changing, and fast. It’s uniqueness is fast being homogenised by unregulated speculation and gentrification. This film explores these changes through the intimate journey into Berlin’s ‘Kneipes’ – the city’s beloved pubs. They are disappearing and with them something that can never be regained.
This is a film about belonging. It is about love, loss and friendship. It is about the nature of security and insecurity, and what community means in a world that is ever more disconnected and lonely. It is an intimate portrait of a fragile and threatened world which is broadly unappreciated, yet to which Berlin owes more of its uniqueness than is often understood. This film is about the past, present and the choices we make that will determine the future.
Take 10 artists. Let them live and work for 5 weeks in an abandoned ex-GDR shampoo factory in Zeitz, Germany. Let them create whatever inspires them there, hold an open exhibition for a weekend, then leave the work and location forever.
IPIHAN (If Paradise is Half as Nice) began as an illegal concept, occupying abandoned locations to bring a new perspective to their long forgotten past. Now in its ninth year, it has gained both support and a following. With this film, it comes to life.
This film works with layers of perspective. It follows the artistic process and outcome through a dual narrative, told not only from the filmmaker’s point of view but also the viewpoint of every artist, each of whom was equipped with a camera. Even the guest cat had one.
What importance do these locations and their stories have: for those who create there, for those who live alongside their rusting presence and fading history, for the people who worked there and see it again 25 years later through new eyes? The answers may be more surprising than you think.