GER 2023, 92 min
An intrinsic and contemporary documentary that captures the essence of the squatter movement in Berlin and its enduring legacy. Johannes Blume and his compelling protagonists delve into the final heartbeats of a subculture on the brink of transformation, while exploring the current state of a city undergoing rapid change.
Berlin is teetering on the edge of complete gentrification. The punk movement is fading, and the remaining left autonomous and anti-fascist spaces are facing an existential threat. Gentrification jeopardizes their very existence, eradicating the once vast diversity in Berlin’s urban landscape.
The capitalistic structures driving gentrification prioritize individual wealth and financial growth, undermining the importance of solidarity. The squatter scene — or the heritage of it — is the antidote. House communities live in and share what would normally be considered personal possessions: the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room — everything is communal. Activities and conflicts are resolved through consensus, and interaction with others is inevitable. Living in a house community is a full-time commitment, a synthesis of people, work, materials, and history.
BERLIN EVICTION aims to rediscover the relevant values of the subculture for today’s society. We engage with people who have a rich history and are willing to speak candidly on camera, free from masks and control. We explore places and individuals that have repeatedly captured the attention of the national and international press due to their fight against the system and eviction, such as Rigaer Straße, Liebig 34, Syndikat, Drugstore, and many more. The imminent evictions of Potse and Köpi Wagenplatz, both iconic symbols of the autonomous and punk scene, serve as the pivotal narrative structure of the film, emphasizing the scene’s ongoing struggle throughout the years.
As a Berliner, I have always felt, and also known, that the image depicted by both the yellow press and the quality press about the squatter scene and the associated projects is more than excessive. It is not contemporary to view these people as the legacy of the RAF or other extremists. However, by perpetuating this image, society seems to adapt and try to avoid and abandon these places, people, and the entire scene altogether.
Though it is fascinating to talk to people who not only despise the idea of personal wealth but also live and fight against the unchallenged ruler: Capitalism. Open minded and sometimes naive, I dove deep into the scene. I met people whom I learned to respect. After collecting and organizing my thoughts and impressions, I desired to create a film that would showcase the positive ideas and aspects of this almost forgotten subculture. The number of punks on the streets has dwindled amidst the countless cafes, chain companies, and skyrocketing rents that do not seem to have a limit.
The concept of solidarity, in particular, fascinates me. People who do not have much and do not want to have much support people who are in need. They provide food, culture and safer places for the LGBTQIA+ community — without having the motive of money or hipness.
This has driven me to present something on the screen that the press and television have been reluctant to show for the last 40 or 50 years: a positive and interested perspective of the left and autonomous scene in Berlin. My mantra for this production was a quote by Robert Bresson that I stumbled upon during my studies: “Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”