DAU - Freedom
An installation by
DAU The Film - A Gesamtkunstwerk (2009-2011)
From 1938 to 1968, the Soviet Union runs a top-secret "Institute for Physical Problems of the Soviet Academy of Sciences", which also employs the physicist and Nobel Prize winner Lev Landau (1908-1968).
In 2005 Russian film director Ilya Khrzhanovsky begins preparatory work for a singular film experiment. In Kharkiv, Ukraine, where Landau lived and taught from 1932 to 1937, Khrzhanovski founded "Das Institut", a gigantic 12,000 square metre laboratory and film set, actually a separate district in which up to 400 people live between 2009 and 2011.
While the original idea was developed from the life of Lev Laundau, its realization increasingly moved away from historical-biographical reality. Non-linear concepts of time and space as well as of man and nature permeate the work and life in the institute, building on research discourses on the principles of physics and mathematics elaborated there.
Over 700 hours of film material were produced in three years, from which 13 feature films and a large number of series have now been cut. Cinematographer Jürgen Jürges, who worked with Fassbinder, Wenders and Haneke, composer Brian Eno, performance artist Marina Abramović, director Romeo Castellucci, Massive Attack and celebrated conductor Teodor Currentzis were among the participants.
DAU - FREIHEIT combines in a four-week unique city installation a social experiment that will change the perception of Berlin. In the historic city centre, in Berlin Mitte, currently the centre of the city characterized by various building projects, the temporary construction of a wall will create a zone that will become a special experience space for four weeks to open up historical echo spaces at the same time. An opportunity to open a political and social debate 29 years after the fall of the Wall on freedom and totalitarianism, surveillance, coexistence and national identity.
The director Ilya Khrzhanovsky, born on August 11, 1975 in Moscow, studied in Bonn and Moscow. His feature film debut "4" won him numerous awards - including a Golden Cactus and Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival; the prize for best director at the International Festival in Buenos Aires; the Grand Jury Award for best new director at the Seattle International Film Festival and a nomination for the European Film Prize of the Fassbinder Prize.
In 2005 Khrzhanovsky started working on the DAU project. In 2009, 400 people went back in time to the Soviet Union: simple street cleaners, waiters, families, famous artists, Nobel Prize winners and shamans. Cut off from the modern world, they lived and worked for over two years in a secret scientific institute. Here they discovered a familiar yet strange reality, transcending boundaries, both personal and scientific. They fell in love, betrayed friends, cheated on their partners, carried out experiments, were arrested, had children and got older.
Her journey through three decades of Soviet history ended in 1968 and the winter of 2011, when the extraordinary living conditions and experiences at the Institute were partially documented. None of the films was made according to a script, none was played by actors* - life in the institute became life in the film.