Day of the Sparrow
Director: Philip Scheffner
Country of production: Germany
Year of production: 2010
Duration: 100 mins
Day of the Sparrow is a political wildlife documentary. It centres around a country where the border between war and peace fades. On November 14, 2005, a sparrow is shot dead in Leeuwarden, and a German soldier dies in Kabul. With the headlines appearing side by side, Philip Scheffner is induced to use ornithological methods in his quest for the war. His journey through Germany begins at the Baltic Sea, with childhood memories at a bird sanctuary situated between a military training zone and a sailing marina.
From place to place, the camera circles the reality of war, in seemingly peaceful images. Conversations from coincidental meetings blow across the deserted landscape, birds staying in the focus of the lens at all times. They sit in cannon barrels, on fences, flutter across meadows and fields, marking the locations where the current war is contrived.
And suddenly the perspective changes. A friend of the filmmaker is arrested on a village street in Brandenburg. The bird watchers themselves become the object of observation.
The journey ends with a slightly displaced view of the familiar: a military training zone at the Baltic Sea situated between a bird sanctuary and a sailing marina. Missile-impacts lash the turquoise blue water; the birds above continue unswervingly onward.
Born on May 28th, 1966 in Homburg / Saar, Philip Scheffner has lived in Berlin since 1986, working on documentary films, video and sound art.