Programmed by Jürgen Ellinghaus
Without this televisual production that marked an important date in the history of German documentaries, no-one would ever have heard of her… Klara Heydebreck died at the age of 72 from an overdose of sleeping pills one evening in March 1969. It’s the portrait of an ordinary life spent in the modest apartment of a grey working-class district in Berlin, a stone’s throw from the Wall, a life affected by history and destroyed by solitude, a patchwork of fragments of memories and images, the ghost of a generation.
Klara Heydebreck, misunderstood by those around her, single, retired, who led an “uneventful” life – the life that the filmmaker sets out to portray – would still be just another administrative file among the roughly 13,000 other suicides recorded each year in West Germany. Eberhard Fechner dedicates an extraordinary biopic to her, devised as a precise appraisal using data and documents, the disillusioned portrait of a life that was equally disappointing despite the protagonist’s attempts to deviate from the path that her condition seemed to’ve laid out for her. With snatches of accounts and interwoven shots from multiple perspectives, the filmmaker carries out his investigation, imposing an admittedly sterile form on his film but one that’s all the more striking because its sobriety carries the demonstration forcefully while leaving intact the final secrets of a life suffered until its chosen end.