Massimo Di Nonno

The liquid wall. For Sky tg24

The Liquid Wall
The Berlin Wall came down 30 years ago. In the very same days,
the fence which devided East and West Germany along the river
Elbe was demolished as well. The Elbe flows through the Eastern
part of Germany, from its border with the Czech Republic to the
port of Hamburg and the North Sea shore. Until 30 years ago it
incorporated a 100 kilometers-long segment of the iron curtain
which used to split in two unreachable parts Germany, Europe
and the entire world.
Forty years of separation and then the magic november 1989:
the border was eventually over, making possible again the simple
act of picking up a ferry and reaching the fellow Germans on
the other river‘s side.
From 1961 to 1989, 49 people died along this liquid Wall while
trying to escape from the DDR for the BRD. They drowned in
the river‘s water, freezed in the cold or were killed by the border
policemen. The very few who succeded to escape recall their
heroic enterprise, while the one who used to live close to the
river tell about the villages which were destroyed, and the many
families who were deported in order to clear the restricted area
from “dubious elements”.
An yet the euphoria associated with the reunification has long
been over. Nowadays the same river‘s stretch symbolizes all new
divisions between East and West: in many people‘s view the
Elbe has never stopped to be a border, even if a mental instead
of a political one.
The Eastern shore is being abandoned by its inhabitants, both in
the villages as well as in the major towns: one third of the young
people has already gone, and the older ones are increasingly
holding a grundge against the so called “western system”, and
harboring a kind of nostalgia for the former, quieter communist
society. It‘s no coincidence that in thirty years only one bridge
has been built along the 100 kilometers-long former border.
Commuters must rely on ferries, which stop working at 9 PM.
As if the border would rise again when the sun sets. The only
positive legacy of the decades long forced separation of the two
shores is to be noticed in the natural ecosystem: the huge biodiversity
and the staggering beauty of the former no man‘s land
are attracting many tourists and a growing number of pensioners
from Hamburg, Berlin and other big cities.

Riprese e montaggio
Massimo Di Nonno, regia Massimo Di Nonno, Marzio G.Mian, Raffaele Oriani


12 minuti
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