Deanna Bowen

works bibliography cv contact   home



"Bowen returns with a multi-screen fairytale about a haunted girl and her cousin. Deutschland, like her previous sadomasochism, strains cinema through language, asking that we read along with a woman recalling her German roots while a four-play of home movies flicker by underneath the grave. The English text in the present is both summary and benediction ("The war is over"), understanding that memory turns the people of our lives into characters, and that all the characters are us." Mike Hoolboom, Images Independent Film & Video Festival, 2000.


Video still: Deutschland


Deutschland is a sensory description of the grieving process.

The video is built around early 1960's 8mm German home movies. Upon realizing that the footage was shot after W.W.II, I began to wonder what post war German citizens felt in the aftermath. I imagined that they had experienced feelings similar to mine after the death of my parents. I realized that they had experienced feelings of grief, apology, senses of implication, inherited guilt, quests for forgiveness -- much like feelings attributed to the loss of a parent, a loved one, a precious thing. I understood that we shared mutual experiences of profound personal loss and would have to face the formidable task of rebuilding and moving forward. For these reasons, I used the footage as a metaphor for my grieving self. In the aftermath of death (actual, emotional, or spiritual) my mind was flooded with regrets and unresolved scenarios. I became instantly fractured in two: life before death, and life after. My past and present existences took on a surreal quality as time, space, and reality became the subject of infinite speculation. My mind was littered by an seemingly unstoppable flow of unfinished/unresolved scenarios. The past became present, now became then, etc. and with this there is a very real need for structure and delineation Deutschland is about making sense of this period in my life. Each year of my grieving process is represented by a series of moving images. On the lower portion of the screen, six montages symbolically catalogue things that I had done after my parents passed away. The middle section of the screen, where I am filling a grave, is the essence of the grieving process -- a slow, methodical process of accepting the loss on my own terms, a slow admission of vacancy and closure. Finally, the top portion of the screen, where text plays throughout the piece is about translation. The German narrative is the grieving voice telling this story; the grieving voice plays as a foreign and somewhat sharp (to English speaking North Americans) soundtrack. The English text that fades in and dissolves upon recognition is meant to convey moments of fleeting clarity. Overall, the gradual dissolve of images and the quietude of the resulting white screen is meant to illustrate how the riddle of loss fades with time. The video ends when there is nothing left to explore, no other questions to ask.


Writer, Director, Producer, Studio Sound Recordist & Sound Editor: Deanna Bowen

Cinematography: Carolyn Wong

Animation: Pat Lefebvre & Deanna Bowen

Best Boy: Wendy Coburn

Narration: Barbara Lorenzen

Funded by the Ontario Arts Council