This poetic documentary film links the fate of New York artist Jimmy Ernst and his parents Max Ernst and Louise Straus on several narrative levels with the story of the print shop Augustin in Gluechstadt.
1935 – Jimmy’s parents had to flee to Paris – the Augustin family take in the 15-year-old as an apprentice typesetter. He learns how to set foreign languages such as Chinese and Arabic as well as Runic characters and cuneiform script. Inspired by his work he develops a fascination with symbols that will influence his entire oeuvre. With the help of the Augustin family Jimmy finally manages to escape to New York in 1938. His father later follows him to the United States, his mother is deported to Auschwitz where she is murdered.
The print shop Augustin today: based on photographs and contemporary witness accounts the abandoned print shop comes back to life. While the camera sweeps over characters, mysterious symbols and foreign alphabets, the images are accompanied by text passages from Jimmy Ernst’s memoirs “A Not-So-Still Life”, read by Burghart Klaussner to the music of sound artist Ulrike Haage. In its entirety this provides a fascinating insight which is crowned by pictures taken by the renowned photographer Candida Hoefer. Directed by Artur Dieckhoff & Christian Bau. Note: the above trailer is in German but the full film is narrated in English.