The story behind the moving images

By Anne SchaafLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Why is Grand-Duchess Charlotte crying? Where is this church tower? And who is snogging here on camera? Anne Schroeder asked herself these questions while watching film archive material, sought answers and found them.

Anne Schroeder is known to many as a filmmaker, editor, producer and teacher. What is probably less known to those unfamiliar with the film scene is the fact that there is hardly anyone else in Luxembourg who has spent so many hours with the family film archives in the Centre National de l'audiovisuel od Dudelange (CNA), studied them in detail and done extensive research on their contents. The result of this anything but easy search for clues is reflected in her documentaries histoire(s) de jeunesse(s) (2001), histoire(s) de femme(s) (2018) and this year's Inspiring Women of Luxemburg – Past, Present and Future in Dubai. Schroeder has thus been tackling "big" topics for decades by illuminating them from multiple perspectives using meticulously compiled contemporary documents. In a sense, the documentary filmmaker collects countless views of one and the same topic in order to defy one-sided approaches to interpretation. This article deals with how her source work proceeds, what obstacles and treasures she encounters in the process and what new findings can be drawn from old moving image archives.

In front of the viewer's eyes, lips meet on the screen every second. Two people, apparently a couple, sit on a meadow on a warm summer day. In the flickering black-and-white images, the man grabs the woman by the scruff of the neck with undisguised verve and gives her what one would rather call a juicy smack than a passionate kiss. Who the two are, what they have in common and how this actually intimate moment ended up on the film reel is not immediately apparent to the audience. Understanding what is hidden behind one or the other family film from the CNA requires, depending on the case, that one has previously spent countless hours in the quiet chamber in front of the screen, on the phone or with one's head between the covers of a book. Anne Schroeder does not shy away from this. What appeals to her about this intensive preparatory work, which remains invisible to the audience, is that it can mean an exciting journey into the unknown: "As with other research, you define your starting points, set up theses and can never know in advance exactly where you will end up."

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