soundonsight

Merle Fischer

(...) Also on the quest to retrace a story – albeit here of the circumstances of two deaths at the German Polish Border in 1992 – is Philip Scheffner’s documentary Revision. According to statistics, about 15 000 people died at European borders between 1988 and 2009; Scheffner’s film is an investigative piece aiming to retrace the circumstances of two individuals who are part of this pool of numbers. Scheffner’s film gives a face to two statistical figures and revises a legally closed case cinematically. “Where does the story begin?” is the question that structures the film’s narrative, with varying answers depending on the interviewed protagonists. Scheffner starts his film off in a cornfield, where the bodies of Grigore Velcu and Eudache Calderar were discovered. LEgally speaking their deaths have been ruled hunting accidents; Scheffner’s film, however, unravels this fragile history and possible different versions to the case. The film comprises of multiple different fragments, the bereaved Roma families, that were never even informed of the fact that a trial was held, the farmers who discovered the bodies, the local police, a lawyer, the prosecutor, a journalist and the film team retracing the possible visibility of the night these two men lost their lives. The film is a puzzle that doesn’t give an ultimate answer or final picture but a disturbing multifaceted perspective on very contemporary European history.
Aesthetically the film is in no way inferior to its well-researched investigation. Revision is at place on multiple different levels of the film, as the interviewed are filmed once again while watching previously taped testimony. This way Scheffner not only gives his counterparts the possibility of revising and commenting previously memorized history but he also gives the audience a chance to witness a process of self-reflection that’s rarely addressed on screen. And ultimately that is also what this film is about; it is about reflection, remembrance and maybe reinstating a different kind of justice by giving two numbers their names and faces back.