Mapping the Archive

Visualisierung und Vermittlung des audiovisuellen Archivs des Berliner Künstlerprogramms des DAAD / Visualizing and Communicating the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program Audiovisual Archive


Corinne Cantrill & Arthur Cantrill

The Berlin Apartment, in: Cantrills Filmnotes, 73,74 Double Issue

(May 1994)
Corinne Cantrill & Arthur Cantrill

Archival digital copy / Archivdigitalisat (Magazine / Zeitschrift)
Archiv Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD © Arthur Cantrill / Corinne Cantrill

“Behind the setting of calm, space and light, was a psychology of disquiet, and a personal trauma which made our stay in Berlin quite terrifying. Ivor suffered a serious breakdown as soon as we arrived in Berlin, and he deteriorated week by week. Nothing helped him. There were daily sudden outbursts of destructiveness, self-mutilation and anti-social behaviours that disrupted our lives and plans and created anxiety as to how to help our son. We even considered abandoning the DAAD award and returning to Melbourne with Ivor, but we decided against that. (...) So there is this apparent contradiction in the film: there is an appearance of well-ordered calm, but the reality was otherwise. Or is the calm that of the ongoing life of the apartment itself which is other than the lives of the residents who live temporarily in its space? A sense of disturbance could have been suggested in the mode of filming, but we chose not to do this: instead we reaffirmed calm and clarity in the face of madness. There is an almost decadent pre-occupation with rituals, plants, flowers, mirrors, and it has taken strong determination not to cut this aspect of the film down, because there was an obsession with all this. The obsessive aspect of the film is also a metaphor for entrapment within the apartment, caught in rituals and routines, trying to maintain a sense of order in the face of chaos, hoping for the best...

Beyond our personal trauma there was another disturbing element: the strong sense of the Nazi past/presence still in Berlin, which the bleak winter seemed to emphasize. We felt the sense of place, history, the architecture, the monuments, the war damage, the Berlin Wall, the intense animosity between East/West Berlin which was palpable at that time. 1985 was the year of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second World War with special events planned; it was the year we saw Wundkanal [by Thomas Harlan] and Unser Nazi [by Robert Kramer].

We felt in Berlin (not in the delightful cultured circles we moved in!) a great bitterness, a lot of resentment in the people in the street, the shops - the people of the middle-aged to older generation - which could be attributed to the experience of the war and its aftermath. There was a sense that very little had been resolved: that people had not moved on through an understanding.”

– Arthur & Corinne Cantrill in: The Berlin Apartment, Cantrills Filmnotes, 73,74 Double Issue (May 1994).

→ Vollständiger Artikel als pdf / Complete Article as pdf

Orte / Locations:

  • Ehemalige Berliner Wohnung von Corinne und Arthur Cantrill, Kalckreuthstraße 3, 10777 Berlin-Schöneberg