Earlier this year I went to New York’s Moma to see “Rabbit à la Berlin”, an unusual form of documentary by Polish filmmakers Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosołowski, made with collaboration with Germany. Based on the canvas of history, “Rabbit à la Berlin” tells a captivating story of humans seen through the eyes of animals. At the first glimpse, this documentary unfolds as a kind of nature film about the wild rabbits leaving in the Death Zone of the Berlin Wall. For 28 years, the strip of land within the two walls becomes their safest enclave: full of grass, without predators, and with guards protecting them from human disturbance. Rabbits live their fairy tale like lives, and though enclosed they stay happy. When their population grows to thousands they mange to survive extermination. But the worst is about to come when the wall fells down, and rabbits are forced to abandon comfortable system. One cannot be easily mislead that this seemingly utopian rabbits tale implies the allegory to parallel history of East Berliners, likewise all people who lived behind the Iron Curtain in totalitarian system in Eastern Europe. People like animals tend to get used leaving in enclave and even manage to have normal, happy lives under regime. And when this given so-called order becomes broken, they have to learn how to embrace newly discovered freedom. “Rabbit à la Berlin” has a brilliantly done plot that merges archival materials with newly shot scenes of rabbits. Narrated in Hoch Deutsch contrasted with informal dialects gives a serious-humoristic attitude similar to the antique tragic-comedy.
Seeing “Rabbit à la Berlin” was a memorable experience for me as I watched it with my good Turkish friend, born in Germany. We both enjoyed it very much. For me it wasn’t only a reminder of resent past but a tribute to freedom.