Malaise (2013) is a non-narrative documentary short film exploring Beelitz-Heilstätten. Built from 1898 as a sanatorium to care for victims of tuberculosis its intended use soon became distorted, serving as a German military hospital during World War 1 and 2, and Soviet military hospital after World War 2. Prominent historical figures recuperated in the hospital, notably; Adolf Hitler, after being wounded at the Battle of Somme during WW1, as well as Erich Honecker following his dismissal as the head of the East German government. In 1989, the grounds became the scene of 6 murders as necrophilic serial killer Wolfgang Schmidt, also known as "The Beast of Beelitz", terrorised the area. Once considered amongst the most advanced hospitals in Europe, Beelitz-Heilstätten has been abandoned and left to dilapidate due to discrepancies over ownership.
Counting more than 60 buildings spread over 200 acres, linked via underground tunnels, Malaise delves into a small fraction of the "healing town", but attempts to convey its unsettling atmosphere through a distinct, yet delicate treatment of colours and tones. The film amalgamates subtle camera movements with still images and sound.
This film was screened at:
• Magnum Print Room, London (England)
• Fantadia Festival Internazionale di Multivisione, Asolo (Italy)
• Cinematique, London (England)
• Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York (England)
• Regensburg Short Film Week, Regensburg (Germany)
• Glasgow Short Film Festival, Glasgow (Scotland)
Frank Catalfumo is a 91 year old shoemaker and repairer in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He first opened the doors to F&C Shoes in 1945 and continues to work five days a week alongside his son Michael. If you're ever in the area, make sure to stop by the shop and listen to one of Frank's amazing stories about life in Brooklyn back in the day.