Ella Bergmann-Michel
A photomontage of three film strips in black and white, in front a person with a camera.
Film screening with Jutta Hercher and Maria Hemmleb
Sun, May 03, 2020 6 pm CEST, Talk

The film »Mein Herz schlägt blau« (1989) by Jutta Hercher and Maria Hemmleb recounts the life and work of Bauhaus artist Ella Bergmann-Michel (DE 1895-DE 1971). In a live conversation, the filmmakers Jutta Hercher and Maria Hemmleb discuss their cinematic portrait of Ella Bergmann-Michel, also known by the abbreviation EBM.

»bauhaus.film.digitally.expanded« presents the films »Where do the Elderly live?« (1931), »Traveling Hawkers in Frankfurt am Main« (1932) and »Election 1932« (1932/1933), in full length and in the best screening quality to date, at www.zkm.de/bauhaus-film-expanded. Her early documentary »Where do the Elderly live?«, features the Budge Home built by the architect Mart Stam. This instructional film illustrates the functions of a well-equipped retirement home in the countryside. EBM later wrote that the film was »not a coincidental report, not photographed architecture, but a view into a living organism [...]«.

In »Election 1932« she documents how public life became increasingly polarized at the end of the Weimar Republic. At a demonstration, the famous antifascist logo of the Bauhaus artist Max Gebhard is on display. From her studio window, Ella Bergmann-Michel films SA troops marching through the streets of Frankfurt. When she was filming the NSDAP polling station, she was arrested by the police, but released shortly afterwards. She was placed under police surveillance and had to stop filming. The National Socialists banned Bergmann-Michel and her husband Robert Michel from working, whereupon the couple retreated to the countryside. Bergmann-Michel was able to smuggle the film material to a friend in London and thus save it from destruction by the Nazis. 

In her film »Traveling Hawkers in Frankfurt am Main« (1932), EBM uses the mobility of the Kinamo camera to move through the streets of Frankfurt regardless of the people in the surrounding area. With the camera, she explores the survival strategies of vagabonding street hawkers, climbs walls and buildings to capture a bird's eye view of the hustle and bustle in the city and at the fair. In her films, EBM usually worked without a script, but relied on direct observation.

About the invited experts: Maria Hemmleb and Jutta Hercher have been researching the life and work of Ella Bergmann-Michel for many years. In a live conversation they will talk about their research and their work as filmmakers and film curators. 

»Mein Herz schlägt blau« (1989) by Jutta Hercher and Maria Hemmleb (30 min.)

Accompanying program