The Song of Others

About the Film

Synopsis

Is it inevitable that history, with all its nightmares, endlessly repeat itself?

Having grown up in a time when a sense of new beginnings characterized many European countries, when old patterns seemed to be overcome and national borders were being dismantled, the author is confronted with this existential question.

He embarks on a cinematic journey, following the traces of old fissures across Europe.

The encounters along the way lead him deeper and deeper into the question of our dealings with history and memory. And they enable him to recognize patterns that are passed down from generation to generation and in which we as a society seem to be trapped. He meets people whose goals, in both thought and action, extend beyond short-term utilitarian thinking.

In “Singing the Song of Others – A Search for Europe”, these encounters form a chorus that points to ways outside the recurring nightmares that have shaped this continent for centuries.

Protagonists

Daan Verfaillie

Daan Verfaillie

With every grenade, every mine you remove, you potentially save a life. If not immediately, then maybe in ten years, or maybe in a hundred years [...]. You're removing a potential danger for a woman, for a child, for whoever.”

Member of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team of DOVO, a special unit of the Belgian Defense Forces.

1.5 billion shells were fired a hundred years ago in World War I, of which about a third did not explode. So on November 11, 1918, there were about 500 million shells lying around here, somewhere in the ground...

Evi Nomikou

Evi Nomikou

"If we want to make predictions for the future, we need to learn to understand the past. It's the only tool we have. Processes deep in the ground today are causing the landscape of tomorrow to change.

Geologist, Volcanologist and professor at the University of Athens.

For Evi Nomikou, the island of Santorini, with its visible tectonic fault line, is an open book of Earth's history.

Geology helps us understand that everything is connected. If we are disconnected, we don't see the consequences of our actions.

Tomasz Wesłowski

Tomasz Wesłowski

If we all think the same way, in the same format, we run the risk of following fatal misconceptions to the end. Conversely, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to recognize a potentially better solution to a problem from someone who has a different perspective on things.

Ornithologist at the University of Wrocław, has been studying the birds in the Białowieża Forest, Europe's last primeval forest, for over 30 years.

Alma Ganz

Alma Ganz

"Our choir Pontanima essentially emerged from the war. People of different religions and national origins came together... united by their shared love of music, which nourished the spirit of our choir.

Conductor of the Pontanima Choir, Sarajevo. Conductor, lecturer in pedagogy and music theory.

We have always believed that our own beliefs should encourage us to reach out to others. To sing their songs. Singing as an invitation to get to know each other. Take a step towards the other, not to assimilate them, but to experience personal growth.

Dževad Karahasan

Dževad Karahasan

The past nourishes the present and the future. Memory nourishes human thought, just as the soil nourishes its plants.

Writer from Sarajevo. Playwright, essayist, dramaturg, and literary scholar.

During the Bosnian War, Sarajevo was besieged for four years by Serbian militias (1992–1996). During this time, the Vijećnica National Library was deliberately bombarded with phosphorus grenades and burned down, along with 2-3 million books and manuscripts. 20 years after its destruction, the building was renovated and is now used for representative purposes and can be rented for weddings and corporate events.

This building has no memory today. Nothing here remembers the young people who studied and dreamed here – nothing. It's a place that only tourists visit. And in a world ruled by tourism, nobody is at home.

Credits

Protagonists

Róbert Molnár, Luigi Rotolo, Guy Spenle, Michel Petitjean, Daan Verfaillie, Evi Nomikou, Tomasz Wesołowski, Jovan Divjak, Dževad Karahasan, Nermin Ibrulj, Alma Ganz, Ronny Nygård, Ingrid Sommerseth 

Director

Vadim Jendreyko

Writing and research

Vadim Jendreyko, Anna Götte

Cinematography

Marcus Winterbauer, Jonas Jäggy, Vadim Jendreyko

Sound

Patrick Becker, Maria Molina, Moritz Springer

Editing

Giles Gardner, Vadim Jendreyko

Original music

Daniel Almada

Sound design

Daniel Almada

Producer

Vadim Jendreyko

Associated producers

Hercli Bundi, Susanne Guggenberger

Production manager

Pascal Moor

Colorist and Digital Composition

Hannes Rüttimann

Production

Mira Film GmbH, Zurich

In co-production with

SRF Swiss Radio and Television and SRG SSR

Editor SRF

Urs Augstburger

National Coordination SRG SSR

Sven Wälti

In cooperation with

Udo Bremer, ZDF/3sat

Funded by

Federal Office of Culture FOC

Swisslos-Fonds Basel-Stadt

Swisslos-Fonds Basel-Landschaft

Film and Media Art Committee BS / BL

Zurich Film Foundation

SUISSIMAGE

Succès Passage Antenne, SRG SSR

S. Fischer Foundation

Volkart Foundation

Grenzgänger Program Robert Bosch Foundation

Literary Colloquium Berlin

Distribution Switzerland

Vinca Film GmbH

Technical Details

Format

16:9

Duration

136min

Color

Yes

Year

2024

Original Language

German, English, Greek, Bosnian, Flemish, Polish, French, Chinese

Subtitles

Deutsch, Englisch

Country

Switzerland

ISAN

0000-0004-5473-0000-1-0000-0000-Y