hristoph Hertel was born on 2 August 1989 in Kronach, where he graduated from high school in 2009. After his community service in Nuremberg, he completed an internship of almost one year at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg. From 2011 to 2015 he studied theatre and media studies as well as art history (B.A.) at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. In 2014/15 Hertel worked as assistant curator for the exhibition “What if” by British media artist Mark Leckey at the Haus der Kunst in Munich. In October 2015 he moved to the Bauhaus University Weimar, where he has just graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Media Art and Design with the film “After us, the flood”.
“After us the Flood” is his short film debut.
In July he received the 2nd prize for Nach mir die Sintflut at the annual media art prize of the Bauhaus University.
If you look at “After me the Flood, the question might arise what a merry-go-round and a dam have to do with the end of the world. The wall will probably break down, young Franz finds out, if water is not drained off as quickly as possible. The only problem is that then there would be no electricity for the merry-go-round. So nobody of the old people in the fictitious village of Klein-Reibach cares about the boy’s subsequent warnings. After all, the carousel is the most important thing. So in the end it comes to the clash and what had to happen happens.
The 20-minute film is therefore primarily to be understood as a parable. On the impending climate change and how mankind deals with it. But the film is not a call for action – it may be too late for that anyway. Rather, it describes in an ironic way the shortcomings of human beings and deals with the paradox of why people act the way they do and deprive themselves of their own livelihoods with reference to (economic) survival.
“After Us, the Flood” is not a classic film. There are hardly any cuts, no close-ups, no action scenes. Following the form of peasant theatre, the filmic-theatrical parable attempts to negotiate the dilemma of the people in a few static compositions. Cool and distanced, the camera looks at the figures, who – wooden and lethargic – act as if on small stages. The people are alienated: this anti-homeland film is not about the typical cinematic dramatization of a story to emotionalize a topic, but about reflecting an abstract fact in the epic alienation.
At the same time, “Nach mir die Sintflut” is also an anti-catastrophe film: all the special effects, for example, were deliberately built manually – there are no computer-generated animations. For the final image, a 3m wide and 1m high model of a concrete dam was built, through which a laboriously constructed miniature by Klein-Reibach was flooded with 2.5t of water. It was about anticipating the destruction of the world in the making of the film. Always in consciousness that in the end, art may not be able to achieve anything. Nobody will change their life because of a film. And so the whole, energy-intensive (1/3 of the budget only for fuel!) undertaking of making a film remains a pointless working off of the world. For the climate it would have been better not to make a film. And that would have described the dilemma of being human quite well. So let’s hope the best for the future. The show must go on…