Documentary film by Christoph Boekel (Germany 2020), with music by Mathis Nitschke

Transmission on Monday, 9th May 2022, 22:25 on 3sat.

(From 8th May 2022, 06:00 in the Mediathek)

A film about the destructive power of war, its traumatizing effect on an officer and his family that extends far beyond the war.

Christoph Boekel’s father was an officer in the Strafdivision 999 from 1942 to 1945. He saw his wartime experience as an opportunity to practice writing. At the same time, writing was a means of emotional relief for him. He had completed his studies in journalism and philosophy shortly before the war began and was striving for his own expressive style. His diaries are haunting and shocking interior views of the war, documents of immediacy that reveal his thoughts, actions and feelings as a soldier – a constant oscillation between euphoria, depression and jadedness.

His father’s diaries and the letters Christoph Boekel’s parents wrote to each other take the filmmaker to the places in Belgium, France, Tunisia, Germany, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina where his father was stationed between 1942 and 1945. Present-day images of the locations merge with the father’s texts to create a haunting interior view of the war and its soul-destroying power.

Inserted into this chronology of wartime experiences are conversations between the author and his two brothers, in which they share for the first time the profound impact that this war had on the family and on themselves. Wars do not simply end. They leave traces in the souls of peoples that last for generations.

Christoph Boekel has made more than 15 films since the 1980s, for which he has received numerous awards. His main subjects have been Russia and contemporary history. In 1989, he made a film for ZDF called “Die Spur des Vaters” (The Trace of the Father), in which he processed recordings made by his father during the war against the Soviet Union.

This preview shows the first minutes of the film and includes two of my scores: a piano waltz I composed probably almost 20 years ago, played by Sachiko Hara, and the oboe theme of the film, played by Marine-Amélie Lenoire.

There are also accordion recordings in the film with Maria Reiter as well as small oud fragments played by Roman Bunka.

I also mixed the film.

Here are a few more music samples:

Written and directed by Christoph Boekel | 1st camera: Axel Brandt, 2nd camera: H. A. Lusznat | Film editing: Thomas Balkenhol | Music: Mathis Nitschke | A production of COIN FILM and BAUM-FILM in co-production with 3sat, editor Udo Bremer. Supported by the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

A detailed film description and an interview with Christoph Boekel can be found on the 3sat website:—eine-familiengeschichte-104.html