Online Video

Jürgen Nefzger

Das Wasser des Lebens (L’eau de la vie/The water of life), 2014, 8 mn 35

My mother died on July 10th 2013. Being her only child, I came back to Germany, spending the last days with her alone at home where she passed away quietly in her bed on an early summer morning. She was 84 years old. I started to record things the day of her death. The still lives are the last memories of a home where I grew up and which I left a very long time ago before moving to France in 1990. Nothing in the house has really changed since then except that my parents are not here any more. Throughout the following summer, I emptied the house, keeping what I could and giving or throwing away almost everything. Before and while doing that, I felt the need to record and conserve as many fragments of what was left behind. From room to room, the film turns into a portrait of my mother and a reflection on the feeling of loss materialised by light, dust and time itself. Later on, when the house stood empty, I asked Heymo, a friend of mine from kindergarten if he could come over and play on his saxophone in the living room, filling the space once again with music and life. The fairy tale read by my mother is the beginning of «Das Wasser des Lebens» by Gebrüder Grimm from a book she liked to read me as a child. It was recorded a couple of weeks before her death. Heymo Hirschmann is a professional musician playing in various groups and teaching music at the same high school we both went to. JN

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