It’s a vision and we get to share it: Occident and Orient softly meet – in water. The German painter, Dieter Mammel, the Italian filmmaker Claudio Malasomma and the Turkish composer Görkhan Kirdar are a trio that has managed to dissolve boundaries. The film opens in Berlin and closes in Istanbul. And between is plot, between is music.
The scenes of the film “Under Deep Water” draw their strength from Dieter Mammel’s painting, in which the element of flow is fundamental. Mammel prefers wet canvases that allow his pictorial world to blossom in its flowing ink and watercolors. In the film, the scenes pour across the screen in unpredictable sequences – images that show life in water as well as life out of the water.
In Berlin a boy jumps into a lake, the Krumme Lanke. He will travel through time, he will look back longingly, but also look forward to the unknown. We see him swim, follow a girl in the water, eat a melon, embrace his mother, and at some point – as a young man – dive up out of the water. The journey through the images includes scenes cut in such away as to keep us in suspense, not immediately revealing their meanings and connections. Is the pot of pea soup on the stove a nightmare for the boy, especially when he sees his own face in a bowl of pea soup? Is the reappearing white dress a leitmotif? Did it belong to his mother or the girl, whom he is following in his daydreams? The dress is wrung out several times, a house burns down, three mermaids emerge. A monkey under water. Seemingly surreal moments, directed sensitively, which don’t give much away at first.
In the Orient, in the hamam in Istanbul, the monkey once again appears: it could very well be the alter ego of the boy. Somehow the animal is always present, if only as a shadow. And then, on the famous Galata Bridge, a young woman comes into view. She’s wearing a white negligee, unusual for the world of the Orient and obviously challenging for the filmmaker, considering the seeming omnipresence of the authorities. Later, the young woman is going to smoke a water pipe, the young man will emerge out of the water and find out that his journey is coming to an end at the Bosporus. A journey to a foreign place with familiar experiences. Does he meet the young woman? In the hamam, where body and soul are purified, all the images seem to flow together once again. The young man muses, reflecting on himself. He departs from the film with two empty bowls in his hand – the future seems to be open.
Dieter Mammel’s paintings from the last seven years are being exhibited by “Ruhr 2010” at the Osthaus Museum Hagen in honor of the European Capital of Culture 2010. His images from these paintings flow into the film “Under Deep Water”, which will be shown on several screens during the exhibit and give us the opportunity not only to compare, but to let us dive in and experience the work more deeply, before and after the viewing of the film. All of Dieter Mammel’s paintings are emphatically emotional. They allow us to dream.
Tayfun Belgin ,
Direktor Osthaus Museum Hagen