deutsch | english

Backlights. Searching for Paul Celan

Backlights. Searching for Paul Celan

© e&a film© e&a film
© e&a film© e&a film
© e&a film© e&a film
© e&a film© e&a film


This film takes a close look at the life and work of Paul Celan, searching for the few traces left behind after the death of someone not personally known. Places in Eastern and Western Europe that were important to the poet’s life emerge again and again in closed sequences set in front of a dark background. The biographical information is limited to the essential, leaving adequate space for the viewer to search for Celan’s influences in today’s images, or even to create something new with them.

People who have been involved with Celan’s work in one way or another are interviewed, sometimes demonstrating almost contrasting approaches to his poetry.
Alternating sequences of sound and images create a pattern that shows the viewers completely different facets of Celan’s life and work. Some are based on content, others motivated by form, and the means of presentation are constantly fluctuating.

The film carefully strives for a formal analogy of Celan’s oeuvre, at the same time reaching its limits and coming to an end right at the very moment that the greatest closeness to the poet is found through disruption. The movie not only documents the search for Paul Celan that emerged from the research for and making of the movie, but also invites viewers to embark upon their own quest while watching.


Johannes Gockeler
Jean Bollack
Rütjer Rühle
Oskar Ansull
Arnau Pons
Frieder Schuller
Eva Wal
…and many more


Script & Director: Katharina Mihm

Producers: Markus Pauser, Erich Schindlecker

Production Manager: Willi Lanzinger
Creative Producer: Gerlinde Gruber

Director of Photography: Mathias Becker
Editing & Colour Correction: Andi Winter
Sound Engineer: Gregor Kuschel, Wilm Brucker
Sound Design: Gregor Kuschel
Composer: Ensemble Sonorfeo

Festivals, Nominations & Awards


Produced with funding from the bmukk (Austrian Federal Ministry for Education,
Arts and Culture) – innovative film austria.
Thanks to the RWLE Möller Foundation, Celle.

Duration: 70 minutes