In a chronologically arranged three-part documentary work, Wolf-Maximilian Liebich accompanies a graduating high school class on their excursion to the former concentration camps Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Observations of casual interactions interweave with fragmentary interview sequences already in the images recorded during the bus trip there. In between are the teaching efforts of the chaperones to prepare the pupils for the memorial sites by means of films and poems. Liebich refrains from placing individuals at the narrative center of #schulausflug, yet the camera continually pauses in close-ups of the young people´s faces, capturing, for example, the echo in their expressions as Schindler´s List flickers on the bus monitor.
The tour of the grounds is shown from the perspective of the group: while the camera feels its way through the site via the small groups of people, a staff member from the visitor information office attempts to grasp the incomprehensible via headphone transmission and as off screen voice, to describe the indescribable. The actual focus, however, remains on the school class who gather in the evening in the hostel to reflect on what they have experienced. One teacher asks questions, another teacher digs even deeper with hers. Space should be given to churned emotions, work done to counter forgetting. And as a discussion unravels in which the past scratches on the present, the school relationship of teaching and learning seems momentarily suspended. In the end, everyone in the group is confronted with having to question their judgment.
By allowing various moments to flow together in his film, Wolf-Maximilian Liebich lets the depiction of a mood curve evolve from the interaction of twisting dynamics – and an experience that points beyond this specific school trip. (Jana Koch)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt