The Art of Remembrance: Simon Wiesenthal

Die Kunst des Erinnerns: Simon Wiesenthal
1994/95 A/USA 16mm 95 min.
Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Hannah Heer
Co-Director/Producer/Editor/Sound: Werner Schmiedel
A River Lights Pictures Co-Production with ORF

"A film that builds its case with quiet force and intellectual acuity, The Art of Remembrance: Simon Wiesenthal is far removed from the sort of standard-issue hagiography that clutters the documentary field. Skillfully directed by Hannah Heer and Werner Schmiedel, with original music from John Zorn, the '95 documentary puts Wiesenthal at its center less to glorify one man's work than to inquire into the moral imperative of that work. Wiesenthal, a onetime architect, began his crusade -- "justice, not revenge" -- right after the end of the war, and almost by accident. The chance discovery of a street sign bearing the words Eichmann & Sons set Wiesenthal on a search that, 15 years later, led to the arrest of one of those most responsible for the "final solution." Over the years, Wiesenthal has tirelessly pursued other war criminals, lobbied Germany (somewhat successfully) and Austria (far less so) to make amends, and helped to organize human-rights organizations, including the one that bears his name. In the end, what makes Wiesenthal a remarkable citizen of the 20th century is not so much his role as a "Nazi hunter", but his morality. Wiesenthal's sense of righteousness and of keeping the past present has been his greatest answer to the Shoah."
- Manohla Dargis, LA Weekly


The Other Eye

Der andere Blick
1991 A/USA 16mm 125 min.
Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Hannah Heer
Co-Director/Producer/Editor/Sound: Werner Schmiedel
A Thalia Film/River Lights Pictures Production for ORF

"This breakthrough filmessay explores the strange case of G.W.Pabst, the Austrian Film Director who was considered a giant of early cinema before his reputation went behind a cloud. The film takes us through his work with Garbo and Louise Brooks, and his making of such classics as "Pandora's Box", "The Joyless Street", and "The Threepenny Opera". But this is no ordinary film tribute. For "The Other Eye", Hannah Heer and Werner Schmiedel, have evolved a rich visual language new to the documentary field, using a elaborate color structure that reflects not only various moods but different periods of time. The film's jazzy style and sophisticated narration probes unflinchingly the controversy surrounding Pabst: What possessed this liberal, cosmopolitan filmmaker to return to Austria in 1939 and direct movies for the Third Reich?"
- THE NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 1991, Film Society of Lincoln Center


Subway Riders

Prducer and Director of Photography Hannah Heer
Directed by Amos Poe
USA 1979/81, 120 minutes, 16mm
Cast: Susan Tyrrell, Robbie Coltrane, John Lurie, Amos Poe, Cookie Mueller, Charlene Kaleina, and Bill Rice

"Outstanding Film Of the Year!" -British Film Institute

"Johanna Heer's cinematography superbly conveys the ominous nocturnal atmosphere of streets and subways. Buildings, drip threatening shadows, echoes rattle down deserted subway platforms, even brownstone steps exude malevolence in the murky light. Inside, the temperature oscillates between the stifling red heat of Penelope's room and the eerie blue chill on Zindo's face as he practices beneath a neon Miller Beer sign. Camera play such as a close-up of a mayonnaise jar in an empty refrigerator or odd excursions into inconsequential space next to a character, contributes to the surreal mood."
- Kathleen Hulser, The Film Journal