Sprich uns von

Spielfilm / 90 min / Premiere: Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance /New York/ 2024

„ Keiner hört mich schreien, meine Ängste sind diskret, doch nun lasse ich, mitten im stärksten Seegang, die Augen weit offen, unter der Gischt zeichnen sich Gestalten ab, dann bin ich die Medusa, die kleine Tochter der Erde und des Meeres, ich bin die entweihte und für schuldig befundene Unschuld..“

Viele deutsche Familiengeschichten, sind bis heute nicht vollständig erzählt worden. je lückenhafter sie überliefert sind, desto massiver drehen sich die Gedanken der Nachkommenden um die blinden Flecken in der Familienbiographie.

Director’s Statement by Kirsten Burger 
Film „SPEAK TO US“  
Transgenerational transmission of trauma


My grandfather is a Stalingrad survivor. In 1945 he escaped from the encirclement of the embattled city and made his way back to Vienna on foot. For the rest of his life, he not only had to cope with physical war wounds, but also suffered from the mental consequences of the war: he hardly spoke to people and only communicated with his horses. This pain and the great silence was transferred to my father, who also has difficulties talking about it to this day. And this in itself has an impact on me and my life. In „Speak to Us of“, I have tried to explore these transmissions and the unspeakable, the barely comprehensible.

I finished the film a few weeks before the attack on Ukraine began. Now, in the face of this new war, where once again not only the recent war shows itself in all its cruelty, but also memories and suppressed fears of the Germans from the Second World War are awakened, current atrocities overlap with traumas and the repressed memories from two world wars. The levels overlap and it sometimes becomes difficult to distinguish between the fears. In the Germans‘ present fear of „the Russians“, past sufferings overlap – what happened in Stalingrad or what was done to an estimated two million German women and girls by the Allied troops, i.e. also by „the Russians“ after the Second World War, or to those more than 200,000 German women and men who were interned without judgement in special camps in the Soviet occupation zone until 1950 and often subjected to cruel treatment. Here, too, many of those affected have „forgotten“. As Christa Wolf writes in her book „Childhood Patterns“: „The past is not dead; it is not even past. We separate it from us and make ourselves strangers.“

She has described them – the deep injuries to the psyche caused by terrible experiences of war and fleeing, the often unconscious effect of such traumas into adulthood, and the possible transmission to one’s own children. In the current situation, the intensity of the transgenerational transmission of war trauma becomes clear once again and how it continues to have an effect in Germany today. And it especially occurs when the experiences are kept in silence – out of shame, fear, or because they are declared taboo by the ruling political system.

The confrontation as a post-traumatised person who tries to break that very silence in order to bring about healing, accordingly, makes me think not only of the pain, but also of the great speechlessness that I still experience and which is reflected in my film. The film shows four women of my generation in whose cells the war experiences of their own grandparents and parents live on. It shows how the following generations suffer from the experiences of their ancestors, how they are haunted by them and, according to the Old Testament (2nd Book of Moses): „up to the fourth generation“.

Ein Film von Kirsten Burger


Aska                  Laura Vogel

Alina                  Cox Ahlers

Zola                  Franziska Pack

Lola                  Clara Gracia

Directed by   Kirsten Burger
Screenplay by Kirsten Burger
Produced by Cox Ahlers
Editor  Daniela del Pomar
Cinematographer   Anne Braun
Music Composition   Mabe Fratti

Production Manager  Cox Ahlers, Kirsten Burger, Alice Greenhill
Sound Design : Olaf Giesbrecht
Voices : Laura Vogel, Cox Ahlers, Olaf Griesbrecht

Sound Recordist: Milian Vogel
Sound Editing : Milian Vogel, Matias Santos

Set Design and Costumes: Franz Reimer
Set design and Make-up: Adriana Fiedler

Colorist: Till Beckmann
Title Design: Alessandra Leone
Mastering: Planemo UG, Marcin Malaszczak, Abdul Twebti


Gefördert vom Fonds darstellende Künste Berlin, Neustart Kultur #take part und Neustart Kultur #take action