Romuald Karmakar

* 1965 in Wiesbaden, GER
lives in Berlin

Apart from the format used say for movies such as “Der Totmacher / The Deathmaker” (1995), or for short films, director Romuald Karmakar often opts for documentation as his chosen genre. Typically his own interest as an “ethnographer in his home country”, as he describes himself, is in social, historical and cultural topics.

Precise observation is key in Karmakar’s documentaries. He captures events with only slight camera travel or pans, and conveys the scenes in long cuts, as in “Villalobos” (2009). This neutral approach permits an individual interpretation of what is shown. Even without specific commentary, the documented moods and emotions as conveyed by observation alone offer an understanding of the situations captured or an entire cultural movement.

By contrast, the spoken word is assigned special importance in works such as “Das Himmler-Projekt / The Himmler Project” (2000) or the “Hamburger Lektionen / Hamburg Lessons” (2006). In the latter, Karmakar examines the texts of two “hate preachers”, which actor Manfred Zapatka reads out in a room almost devoid of objects and with the camera rolling. Iconographic references and speaker’s emotions are absent from the film. It is through aesthetic reduction and the film’s extreme length that the observer becomes aware of the preacher’s inner logic and the author’s imagination. Given the apparent rationality with which they are spoken the words assume an even greater menace.

A film evening in the Caligari FilmBühne provides an insight into the highly diverse work of Romuald Karmakar.

Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden