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Crackle of Time - Christoph Schlingensief and his Opera Village in Burkina Faso

CRACKLE OF TIME - CHRISTOPH SCHLINGENSIEF AND HIS OPERA VILLAGE IN BURKINA FASO (Knistern der Zeit - Christoph Schlingensief und sein Operndorf in Burkina Faso) Sibylle Dahrendorf, D 2012, 106 min

An African Bayreuth? An Opera in Burkina Faso?

Christoph Schlingensief, the German film, theatre and opera director had a vision for an opera village in Africa. Despite cancer, he made trips to Burkina Faso, such was his devotion and conviction. "Crackle of Time" tells the story of the impossible project: To build an opera village in Burkina Faso, a space combining art and life, with a school, theatre, hospital, living quarters, a football field, a lunchroom. Schlingensief wanted everything what it needs to live and survive. Everything in one place. From the initial location search in May 2009 and the Groundbreaking in February 2010 to the emergence of the school the documentary takes us up close to the German artist Christoph Schlingensief and his architect Diébédo Francis Kéré who originally comes from Burkina Faso. But then everything changed.
Christoph Schlingensief died in August 2010.
Death played a role from now on. After a period of stillstand the team of the opera village went on. The documentary get behind the vision of the 'opera village' and witness the struggles and hurdles. In October 2011 the school could celebrate its opening.

2011 Christoph Schlingensief was posthumously awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for his stage installation, "fluxus oratorium – church of fear" in the German pavilion.

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Statements

Director Sibylle Dahrendorf (bbc report, June 2012)
I didn't plan this film the way it's turned out. I didn't expect him to die. I wanted to tell a story, like Christoph used to say, about how art can heal.
I think a lot of people were hoping deep down that this opera project would give him back lots of energy - that would help him live for many more years.
Christoph was really a unique person. He had such an explosive energy and fantasy and imagination. I don't know anyone else like that. And certainly not in the theatre and film world."

Christoph Schlingensief (Foundation Stone Ceremony, February 2010)
Remdoogo will be a total work of art, where people live and we can observe the highest art form; living together.
Learning from Burkina Faso. That is our opening motto. When the first visitors arrive, maybe they'll search for an opera singer with a wonderful voice.
Instead they might hear the first cry of a baby, born in our small clinic in the opera village.
What a wonderful song. Much better than opera. Much truer than anything else we put on the stage.
This small clinic is a reminder of the healing power of the arts. Art can heal. Art is balm for the soul.

Diébédo Francis Kéré (School Opening, October 2011)
Christoph is no longer here, but the journey goes on. His project goes on. He lives on through the project. He had a vision which brought us together and it will never stop, at least for a while.
I'm right in the middle of it. We've nearly nailed the first phase, as we'd discussed.
Nearly. Of course there's a hole in the centre.
Where the theatre should be. He'd know that. Yes, I would tell him that the baby hasn't been born yet.
But there are lots of kids here now. That's how I'd describe it to him.
This place is alive.  If he wants to, he can come and have a look.

Aino Laberenz (Juni 2011, Opera Village)
Sometimes I really feel Christoph with me here. Particularly in this place of course, because it's his.
I literally see him here. Even though it's changing and growing and in a way that Christoph wouldn't necessarily haven't seen.
It's my will to keep Christoph alive, now and in the future, for a very long time.
That people will always hear and see him. That's my responsibility for the future. I want the opera village to live on.

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