Sous-titres:Die Berliner Jahre 1984-1992
Titre anglais:AUDRE LORDE - THE BERLIN YEARS 1984 TO 1992
Pays de production:Deutschland 2011
Langue:OF m. dt. UT
Durée:84 Minutes

Réalisateur:Schultz, Dagmar
Scénario:Schultz, Dagmar
Montage:von Vietinghoff, Aletta
Producteur:Schultz, Dagmar


La célèbre poète et écrivaine afro-américaine Audre Lorde est morte en 1992. Elle se décrivait elle-même ainsi : « lesbienne, féministe, noire, poétesse, mère et militante ». Dans les années 1980, Dagmar Schultz, qui enseignait à l’Institut John F. Kennedy de l’Université Libre de Berlin, convia Lorde à Berlin comme professeur invitée. Ce séjour aura une influence décisive pour Lorde qui devint rapidement co-fondatrice et mentor du mouvement Afro-Allemand. Dans ce film-portrait, Dagmar Schultz utilise des archives personnelles inédites d’Audrey Lorde.


Director’s Statement

How did I come to make a film on Audre Lorde?
I myself lived in the United States and in Puerto Rico from 1963 to 1973 and was active in the civil rights movement, in the anti-Vietnam movement and in the women’s and lesbian movement. Thus I had plenty of opportunity to confront myself with my role as a German and as a white European. After my return to Berlin it became more and more clear to me to what extent the absence of Black and Jewish women in the women’s movement determined the identity and the politics of that movement.

In 1980, I met Audre Lorde for the first time at the UN World Women’s Conference in Copenhagen in a discussion following her reading. I was spellbound and very much impressed with the openness with which Audre Lorde addressed us white women. She told us about the importance of her work as a poet, about racism and differences among women, about women in Europe, the USA and South Africa, and stressed the need for a vision of the future to guide our political practice. On that evening it became clear to me: Audre Lorde must come to Germany for German women to hear her, her voice speaking to white women in an era when the movement had begun to show reactionary tendencies. In the spring of 1984 she agreed to come to Berlin for a semester to teach literature and creative writing. One of her first questions on arriving in Berlin was, "Where are the Black Germans?" Thus began a political movement- and awareness-building journey that lasted until the end of her life. During that process she initiated work on the book Showing Our Colors. Afro-german Women Speak Out, which Orlanda Frauenverlag published in 1986.

For me this process meant learning, discovering and forming friendships and alliances with Black Germans. Audre returned to Berlin in 1986 and until 1992, the year of her death, spent annually weeks and months in this city. During the last two years she stayed with me and my partner Ika Hügel- Marshall, and we visited her and her partner Gloria Joseph in St. Croix. A friendship developed: we worked on the publication of her books, I translated for her on reading tours, and Orlanda published four more books with Lorde’s work including a bilingual volume of 42 poems she herself selected from her work during her last summer. (Her novel ZAMI. A new spelling of my name is being republished by Unrast Verlag in March 2012.)

Audre Lorde had a profound influence on the development of Orlanda Frauenverlag. We accomplished our goal to become a working team composed of Black and white women and in Audre's sense enlarged our vision and made possible our constructive dealing with differences in daily life. Another aspect of our friendship had to do with her cancer illness: I introduced her to alternative medicine and naturopaths. For me this meant a very special confrontation with illness and death—an experience which certainly helped me in dealing with my own cancer illness years later. As Audre said: “We meet cancer like we meet every other crisis—out of a composite of who we are.” One sign of her friendship was her challenging me, both as a person and a friend. Being with her taught me that, as a white woman, I could not just assume the existence of trust on the part of a Black woman, but that I had to build it up and be ready to reaffirm it.

Fortunately, during much of the decade this film covers, I photographed, audio- and video-recorded Audre with her consent, but without any plan whatsoever about what to do with this trove of material. In the ten plus years it has taken me to bring this film to fruition, it was clear to me that I definitely wanted to make this material available to as many people as possible. Together with Ika Hügel-Marshall and Ria Cheatom I developed a script which was skillfully edited by Aletta von Vietinghoff. Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years brings to light a little known chapter of Audre Lorde’s life which was and is extremely important to her and to Black and feminist white communities in Germany and in Europe.