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  7. In Der Wüste

In Der Wüste

Rafael Fuster Pardo, FRG 1987, 70 Min., OV with English subs, digital

Introduction by Biene Pilavci

Winter in West Berlin in the mid-1980s. Two artists, Fernando and Timur, share a squalid flat off a gloomy Kreuzberg courtyard. The Wall looms, the refrigerator is empty, the ceiling leaks, and Chilean-in-exile Fernando can’t even bring himself to open a letter from home. Rafael Fuster Pardo chose to base his feature debut In Der Wüsteon a story by Chilean author Antonio Skármeta, working with an ensemble of non-professional actors whose own biographies are marked by (post-)migration. With economy and precision, Fuster Pardo paints a picture of the life of a starving artist. Berlin is a desert of wastelands and rejection, a city that for all its affluence is restrictive and cold rather than free and egalitarian. Yet the film never allows its bright mood to darken; after all, crises are there so that we can distract ourselves from them. In the lead-up to Christmas, the city manages to get back on good terms with Fernando and Timur when they attend a Jocelyn B. Smith concert: for minutes on end, her performance of “Midnight Lover” electrifies both characters and audience alike. (BP)