Whether he was writing plays, poems or prose, Bertolt Brecht was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He had an almost unrivalled ability to sum up complex circumstances in pithy phrases. To this day, his plays remain in the repertoires of major theatres around the world and his works are set reading in schools. Many of these were written during his 16-year period of exile. Among them are his Flüchtlingsgespräche – Refugee Conversations – in which he memorably records and processes his experiences in these formative times. What does escape into exile mean in its profoundly personal impact on those affected? Breaking off the whole life to which one had been accustomed, losing all personal contacts, restriction of one’s freedom of movement, dependency on others and the inability to plan either the near or distant future in any way? This film portrays his time in exile and the story of how this shatteringly topical key text came to be written. A moving journey back in time and half way round the world which makes clear through interviews with theatre makers, writers and Brecht specialists such as Can Dündar, Shermin Langhoff and Katharina Thalbach what we can still learn from Brecht today.
Documentary film by Hedwig Schmutte, ARTE | ZDF 2022, 55 mins