In 2011, veteran German director Philip Scheffner convinced a sceptical Colorado Velcu to take part in his documentary about the unsolved 1992 murder of the young Roma’s father (Revision, 2013). Three years later, the pair reunited for an impromptu film project charting the Velcu family’s relocation from Romania to Berlin. The result could simply be enjoyed as a candid “year in the new life of a Roma family”, without a trace of the refugee pathos so en vogue these days. But And-Ek Ghes… is also an unexpected reflection on the act of filmmaking, with the inspiring subjects bringing a playful, quasi-subversive energy to Scheffner’s poised, conceptual work. As the film unfolds, Scheffner steps aside and relinquishes control while Velcu and family take over both the narrative and the filming, shifting from cast members to co-authors in a manner that is fascinating to behold. Intertwining home video, cinéma vérité, re-enacted and staged scenes, this multi-layered work blurs the borders between straight documentary and autofiction. The seasoned documentarian and the Roma father meet at eye level, and have somehow fashioned the hundreds of hours of footage they shot into a distinctive gem.
And-Ek Ghes… | Directed by Philip Scheffner, Colorado Velcu (Germany 2016). Starts September 22