The American Sector

Documentary directors Courtney Stephens and Pacho Velez have created a 70-minute piece of collecting parts of the original Berlin Wall, put up all over the United States. Many of them can be found in museums, some of them in parks and gated communities, a handful of them were auctioned off by private individuals for their own property. It is fascinating to see that the concrete pieces, now no longer a symbol for the divided city of Berlin, somehow remain pieces of war, of danger, or simply miscommunication.

"The American Sector"
The American Sector von Courtney Stephens, Pacho Velez USA 2020, Berlinale Special © Courtney Stephens / Pacho Velez

The movie is part of this year’s Berlinale Special and includes just a short amount of dialog. There is one disturbing scene where two students, placed right next to one of those huge concrete blocks on a university campus, complain about the fact that the American history should be better represented instead of a piece of concrete that seems to be so far away from them that they feel they are as far removed from it as possible.

In other Berlinale news, this year’s Competition so far has one clear winner for me, Kelly Reichardt’s “The First Cow”. More Competition posts will be up as soon as possible. The next screening is waiting.

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