Screened as part of NZIFF 2002
For the ten years from 1990 to 2000, Potsdamer Platz was the world’s largest construction site, turning the wasteland once traversed by the Berlin Wall into a gleaming and controversial new centre for the city. This film does not concern itself with controversy. It is a hymn to the process and machinery of construction, a celebration of the world’s most massive Lego set. 80000 Shots is the anti-Metropolis, enthralled by machinery and manpower.
Photographer and first-time filmmaker Manfred Walther is the author of several photographic studies of Berlin’s architectural history. He began filming the Potsdamer Platz in 1988 with a 16mm camera fitted with self-made stop-motion equipment to collapse entire days of frantic activity into minutes. His 80,000 shots are edited down from 13 years of coverage to provide a fascinating, frequently startling vision of the passage of time and the human compulsion to shape the earth and build. There is no commentary, although site signage is used to witty effect. Walther ventures no discernible opinions about the architectural cacophony of the new Potsdamer Platz, though he drily comments in his publicity material that he may be the only artist involved in the project to come away with exactly what he wanted. — BG
"A long-term observational piece which is patient, precise, attentive, informative, comical, historical, documentary and poetic. A record of the end of one era and the transition to a new age. A balletic sequence of images, danced to the music of Andreas Czeschka: Berlin – Symphony of a Big Site." — Berlin Film Festival