47 min, DCP, 2.35:1
Italian and German
Inspired by the children’s book About Two Squares by El Lisstzky, the film Transient Witness simultaneously merges and obscures the intimate and the public through a fictional story where the actions of collecting and stealing function as synonyms and the concepts of inheritance and loss become interchangeable.
The film tells a story of the transfer of the objects from the private house of the avant-garde collector Egidio Marzona in Berlin to their new domicile, the Japanisches Palais, a Rococo building belonging to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD). The plot unfolds through the eyes of three main protagonists: Christina, the manager of the collection; Maurizio, the art mover; and Präsens, the collector’s dog.
Fiction meets reality on 25 November 2019, when priceless jewelry of immense cultural value was stolen from the Green Vault in Dresden during one of the biggest heists in history, causing a national shock in Germany. The various encounters among the woman, the man, the dog, and the collections merge and obscure the purposes of both collecting and stealing, thereby entwining feelings of inheritance, entitlement, and loss into a more complex story connecting the baroque and the avantgarde, or art and its politics.
Actors: Anne Ratte-Polle, Michele Andrei and Sabine Wackernagel
Producers: Caroline Kirberg and Assaf Gruber
Cinematographer: Frank Meyer
Set & Costume Design: Sara Wendt
Editors: Assaf Gruber and Dane Komljen
1st Assistant Director: Moriya Matityahu
Written and directed by Assaf Gruber
The film was co-produced by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Germany), Krieg in Hasselt (Belgium), the Fundación Botín in Santander (Spain), CCA Tel Aviv, and Outset Contemporary Art Fund.