About the Unjustment of Being Born

Some things can be seen more clearly at night: ABENDLAND, Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s new feature film, undertakes a long, associative journey, surveying Europe by night in terms of its many different facets. Pulsating society of service providers and prosperity, bulwark of security and exclusion, urban civilization, hedonistic temple of earthly delights, inspired and weighed down at the same time by its history, traditions and highly developed culture.


Night work, obliviousness to the surrounding world, noise and silence, a Babel of languages and translation problems, one’s first steps in life, disease, death and desperate attempts to cross borders: All this is revealed by Geyrhalter’s camerawork


and in Wolfgang Widerhofer’s careful editing, which produce an essay film with powerful images about a continent and the principle of the Western world, “Abendland”. At times, it seems to be on the verge of breathing its last breath.


“Once in Europa” is the title of a 1987 tale by novelist and essayist John Berger which examines the unjustness of being born into certain conditions. A similar motivation may have driven Nikolaus Geyrhalter and the resolute gaze he directs at present-day life in this unjust Europe: a love of humanity that grows stronger through distance.


Some things can be seen more clearly at night.