Consequence

Documentary
by Thomas Heise

Germany 2012, HD, 65‘

CONSEQUENCE tracks the tiring working day between Christmas Eve and New Year at a small German crematorium operating 24/7.

This medium-sized business guarantees to deal with a dead body within three days – ensuring reliable planning for undertakers. So those left behind have the chance to quickly get back to their own productive everyday lives. Swift cremation helps the affected cope with bereavement quickly, says the company brochure. There’s a lot to be done. In pictures without words CONSEQUENCE tells the story of what happens to us. “It’s the economy, stupid!”

“I didn’t expect that, and my jaw dropped. In the brief period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when work got out of control. Very little was said. There was very little to say. It happened. I watched the individual steps in the process closely and I saw how the workers did each of those steps. I saw their movements; experienced, no superfluous gestures, perfectly adapted to the production processes. The tension in their bodies. The ash mill operator was like a dancer, or a soldier doing a series of very special exercises. His work, his dance, was observed by a camera; the image then transmitted to the control room and recorded. The surprising things, the endlessness, the constantly replenished supply, which was inescapable; never a break, never silence, never a moment for a person to rest. And I noticed how I began to get used to it. The calm, fluent movements as his hand moved just a few centimeters above the ashes; the rustling bones. The repair to the oven while the place was in operation, on New Year’s Eve, after midnight. The ramifications, the obviousness that we brought with us. Thrift, thrift, Horatio!”

Thomas Heise

Author and Director Thomas Heise
DoP Robert Nickolaus
Sound Dietmar Künze
Mixing Sven Piesker
Editing Mike Gürgen
Production Management Marcel Neudeck
Producer Meike Martens
Production Company Blinker Filmproduktion
Commissioning Editor Sabine Rollberg
In Co-Production with WDR and ARTE
Funded by Film und Medienstiftung NRW
World Sales Deckert Distribution
Festivals Rome IFF 2012, Italy