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Home > Screenings > LOOKSfilm > A World Divided 1939-1956

Executive Producer: Regina Bouchehri, Gunnar Dedio, Nicolas Steil

Writer: Jan Peter

Genres: Documentary, Drama


"A World Divided 1939–1956" (6x52’) will trace and document the paths taken by Europe, the USSR, the USA and China around this time and the start of the demise of the Western colonial powers. We will follow people from various nations through what is a uniquely exceptional time in their own lives and for the existence of humanity. To do this we will seamlessly weave fictional elements with archive material and in this way create a new and highly emotive film narrative from even seemingly familiar images.

For the first time, our project brings together the war and the post-war years into a new transnational account of this era. At the heart of the narrative are the life stories of six women and men from four continents:
German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun; American nuclear physicist Joan Hinton; Hedwig Hoess, staunch Nazi, mother of five and wife of the commanding officer of the extermination camp at Auschwitz; Golda Meir, Jewish activist and later Foreign Minister and Prime Minister of Israel; French psychiatrist and author Frantz Fanon from Martinique; Communist party official Nikita Khrushchev, later party leader of the CPSU and premier of the Soviet Union.

The overarching theme that runs like a thread through the life plans, successes and failures of our main protagonists and through the dramaturgical framing of the six episodes, is the internal and external conflict between COLLECTIVISM and INDIVIDUALISM.

This is also a story of survival and of the survivors. World War II brought death and despair to humanity, but in its aftermath, there came an awakening and a radical restructuring of the world. It was by no means just the innocent or those who resisted this catastrophe that survived. The perpetrators too, the murderers, remained "among us" for quite some time and shaped society in Germany and elsewhere to a much greater degree than people would like to believe.

The unusual perspectives and narrative approach of the series extend beyond country and genre borders, reflecting the different worlds of experience particularly of a younger audience – an audience among which interest in political topics and controversial issues is increasing again.

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