After a packed screening of Am Ende Kommen Touristen/And Along Came Tourists last Friday evening in Melbourne, we had a very interesting discussion with Gideon Reuveni, from the University of Melbourne and myself about the themes explored in this excellent film. In particular we looked at the notions of reconciliation, remembrance and moving forward, and whether the subtle Jewish theme about the Holocaust and contemporary impact in the Polish town adjacent to Auschwitz was explored adequately in the film. The audience was very responsive and keen to contribute to the discussion, providing a range of comments that meant the discussion ran for almost one hour.
The consensus seemed to indicate that it was good to see filmmakers like Robert Thalheim explore difficult historical issues through a contemporary filter, and like other German filmmakers, willing to challenge the audience without rejecting or denying what happened. The notion of guilt and coping with that past, including the Stasi era as well, is an important part of the process of moving forward and ensuring that it never happens again in Germany. I was very pleased to see how interested the audience is in discussion around some of the films in the festival, and provides a value-added approach to screening a range of films.