2014, 9:31 min., color, sound, Der beste Weg (The Best Way)
Concept and realization: Angelika Herta
Categories: Film/TV/video, experimental documentary film
Production: Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Angelika Herta
Der beste Weg
At eight in the morning, the woman goes grocery shopping. She has to go once a week, even though she hates it, and she is immediately knocked over by the letter carrier on his bike. She is furious at the helpful people who later assist her across the street, she didn’t want any help at all—and now she has to find her orientation again. Did they not see her cane and guide dog? Even if, especially if, they want to help her because of her disability or ask her questions, they are annoying to her. The worst are the college-educated types. Germany doesn’t understand how to deal with disability, she knows this.
They reorganized the shelves again at the grocery store, so that people stay in the store longer. This is also annoying. The woman has a barcode scanner to assist her in shopping; she’s ready for all eventualities, so that she can get by without any help. Please spare her any pity! She maintains that she wouldn’t have even gotten a dog in the first place (all those helpful people are also to blame for this), since she really doesn’t even like dogs. Also she doesn’t like the other blind people at the society for the blind, who are constantly aggravated, though she keeps going to meetings anyway.
This woman, the main character of the film, has coped well with her life. She has an adult daughter, whom she was strict with as a child—raising a child is no easy task for a blind person and, presumably, single mother, and she had to be sure that she did it well. She has a grandson who visits her and tidies up her computer. She’s also been having problems with the screen reader, which she calls Steffi, but she’s dependent on it for writing complaint letters. After every outing in the city the pile of letters increases. Earlier she had a boyfriend, Klaus with the high-pitched voice, whom she doesn’t really miss, but he had a car and they went on vacations together, to other countries. She liked traveling.
People see the woman in front of them, they hear her cane tapping the sidewalk, and hear her quickly fired reactions when someone crosses in front of her, which happens constantly.
Incidentally, the film has no images. Only white or sometimes red letters on a black background. Sometimes the letters dance around, inflate, or squeeze together. A computer voice reads out the text. Over ten minutes we experience the life story of this woman. After the word “film”—“a film (?) by Angelika Herta”—the filmmaker placed a question mark. She need not have, since without question it is a film that plays across our inner eye, set in motion by a monotone computer voice and the spare letters over a black screen.
Text - Prof. Katrin Laur
Angelika Herta was born in Austria and finished secondary school in Istanbul. She studied comparative literature in Vienna and worked as a lecturer at the University of Bucharest; she later completed her studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Her experimental film Der beste Weg was nominated in 2015 for the German Short Film Award, and in 2019 her documentary film Life could be so beautiful received the award for “Best Central and East European Documentary Student Film” at the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival. In 2021, Herta received the “SHOOT” New Talent Award for women artists from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and the Internationales Frauen Film Fest Dortmund+Köln and a work stipend from the Ministry of Culture and Science NRW for her film project Wir Tiere. Currently she is developing in collaboration with the Filmwerkstatt Münster a short documentary film with the working title Mammals. Angelika Herta is a member of the Dokomotive collective, a Cologne-based platform for artistic documentary film, and she works as a freelance filmmaker and an instructor of documentary film in Cologne.
Prizes—Der beste Weg:
KHM Promotion Award, 2014
Nominated for the German Short Film Award, 2015
“Special Mention” of the K3 Filmfestival, 2016
Second Prize of the Jury of the Look&Roll Festival, 2016
Exhibitions—Der beste Weg:
Art Cologne, 2015 “What subject can we sensibly discuss?”
Video and performance festival “Play – leaving the stage,” November 27, 2015–January 9, 2016, with ampersand gallery in Cologne
“A room that...Perfect creatures,” group exhibition, September 19–October 1, 2016, Spinnerei Leipzig
Marl Media Art Awards, 2016, October 23, 2016–February 12, 2017, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten
FAR OFF, 2018, Cologne Contemporary Art Fair, April 18–21, 2018, Ebertplatz Cologne
Her short film was screened on April 11 at 8 p.m. in the Short Monday program titled “Über Schrift” at the Filmhaus Köln.