A year later, when the Germans had lost the war and the concentration camps were liberated, the Allies photographed and filmed the camps, the survivors, and the traces that pointed to the millions murdered. It was above all the images of piles of shoes, glasses, false teeth, the mountains of shorn hair that have made such a profound impression. Perhaps we need images, so that something that is hardly imaginable can register: photographic images as the impressions of the actual at a distance.
At the end of the 1960s, there was a change of generations at the magazine [Filmkritik] and the editorial work was henceforth led by a collective, the film critics’ co-operative. From that moment, the magazine stopped being a film magazine oriented towards current cinema events and, instead, published thematic issues devoted entirely to one subject and without any formal guidelines. The issues’ respective guest authors and designers were free from editorial intervention. Only these conditions made it possible for literary and film personalities such as Straschek to cover an entire issue with a thoroughly composed biographical essay.
Farocki’s scope was broad. There was a lot of ground covered and many issues explored in the trajectory from early 16-millimeter films like Die Worte des Vorsitzenden [The Words of the Chairman] (1967), which protests the shah of Iran’s official visit to Berlin, to his last multiscreen sculptural installation, Parallel I–IV (2012–14), which examines the development of the virtual world of video games and their relationship to space. Indeed, surveying Farocki’s oeuvre serves as a revealing case study of the history of experimental filmmaking in Europe in the past half-century.