FROM THE SIDELINE
a film by simon brückner
the psychologist peter brückner has been a lot of things in his life: a “half-jew” and a runaway, an underground activist and a wehrmacht soldier, a communist with party-ban, a father and a family refugee, a democrat and an enemy of the constitution, last but not least the first tenured university professor banned from teaching. he died in 1982 hailed by the protest generation of 1968 as their beloved scholar. his heritage includes the headstrong social psychology of liberation. at the time of his death, his youngest son simon was four years old. thirty years later, simon, now a filmmaker, embarks on a journey to get to know his father and he discovers a personality with multiple secrets. the film approaches its central figure with small steps and draws big arches, which ignore the linear passing of time. the film lures its viewers through an unusually dense and multilayered narrative, as well as through subtle humor and the unanswerable question about the essence of a past life. it resembles a magic trick: the protagonist peter brückner steps forward only to disappear in the next scene in order to reappear in the least expected moment.
the biopic “from the sideline” depicts not only the breakthroughs, escapes and “public happiness” of a left-wing intellectual of the 20th century, but also the destructions and breakthroughs of the whole century. this is true to the protagonist’s own motto that the individual should bring his or her own history in harmony with history in general. simon brückner shows the sometimes steep path that his father undertook in his life as a private and also public figure. through his personal approach, the director manages to shed a light on a piece of german history that has been marginalized, looked at “from the sideline”. the result is a cinematic hologram of a provocateur and a self-thinker who had to inevitably offend his whole life in germany. the film tells a tale of a man, who, despite his longing for emotional security, was on a constant search for freedom, which always came at a price.
director: simon brückner
authors: simon brückner, sebastian winkels
director of photography: isabelle casez
sound: raimund von scheibner
editor: sebastian winkels
commissioning editors: udo bremer (zdf/3sat), rolf bergmann (rbb)
executive producers: susann schimk, jörg trentmann
awards: 30th dok.fest münchen 2015: viktor dok.deutsch jury statement, nomination for the 53rd grimme-preis 2017: in the category information & culture
documentary, 112 min, hd, color
© 2015 credo:film/ zdf