Short on Minutes, Long on Meaning


Kaputt/Broken is an example of animadoc, a cutting-edge new form of filmmaking. It screens in Flat Rock this week as part of the touring Manhattan Short Film Festival.

With political heads, and the heads behind those heads, coughing up sound bites and scandalous snippets in various forms of media, social and otherwise, and with those outpourings morphing into memes, gifs, and good-old-fashioned op-eds, it’s not easy to think up new ways to convey dark narratives these days. But one emerging form that may get us to pay attention again is Animadoc — the pairing of original audio excerpts with animated visuals.

In the case of Kaputt/Broken, a short film drawn, designed, and co-directed by Volker Schlecht, the images are bleak but arresting German expressionism-inspired line drawings illustrating life inside Hoheneck, an infamous women’s prison in the former East Germany that operated from 1949 to 1989 — a decrepit castle in a remote region where inmates were routinely crowded like vermin in underwater dungeons; many of them committed suicide. (Among the criminal offenders were a vast number of political prisoners.). Former inmates Gabriele Stötzer and Birgit Willschütz remember the brutality, the disgraceful living conditions, and the relentless forced labor, manufacturing designer clothes and other luxury items for the West.

The seven-minute documentary has been winning raves on the art-house circuit, and comes to Tryon this week as part of the Manhattan Short Film Festival, a curated touring festival that screens more than 800 times in more than 250 cities on six continents in one week.

Flat Rock Cinema is the only venue in Western North Carolina that hosts the week-long fest (September 23-29). Check out Marcianne Miller’s rundown of all the offerings in this month’s movie section (

2700 Greenville Hwy. Make reservations at 828-697-2463. 

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