TALKS Werke & Tage “And since I didn't want to let it get me down...”
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“And since I didn't want to let it get me down...”

Film Series Translating. Work and Days.

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Übersetzen. Werke und Tage: Aljonna Möckel

Aljonna Möckel was born in Moscow, the child of Erwin Johannes Bach, a German anti-fascist Musicologist of Jewish descent. The Holocaust, and a life in exile between Stalin and Hilter, the Siege of Leningrad, the war, all left their tragic traces in the family history. In 1947, her parents returned to Berlin. After studying Slavic Studies and Romance Studies in Jena, Aljonna started work for the publisher “Volk und Welt” as an editor of Soviet literature. In 1966, her disabled son Dan was born. This forced her to quit her job and try to make it as a freelance translator in the GDR. She enjoyed translating texts which describe fantasy worlds: children’s books and science fiction. In March 1989, she took part in the legendary German-German translation workshop in Straelen. After reunification, she wrote fantasy novels together with her husband, Romanticist Klaus Möckel, under the pseudonym Nikolaj Bachnow.

Filmstill: Aljonna Möckel

The series Translating. Work and Days portrays ten translators of different generations who talk about their lives and their work. All of them translate into German from Slavic languages. In the 9 films, Ganna-Maria Braungardt, Claudia Dathe, Christiane Körner, Gabriele Leupold, Aljonna Möckel, Thomas Reschke, Rosemarie Tietze, Thomas Weiler, as well as the duo Günter Hirt & Sascha Wonders alias Sabine Hänsgen and Georg Witte, all speak to us. Their accounts of origins, encounters, discoveries, and experiences are set against the backdrop of photographic documents. Personal histories are told against the background of greater history. The series was in the process of being made when Russia began its large scale invasion of Ukraine on the 24th February 2022. Thus the last intermediate chapter in the films came into being: The War.


Idea, Director, Producer: Anna Shibarova
Camera, Sound and Editing: Elizaveta Snagovskaia
English subtitles: David Drevs, James Cohen ©2023

The series “Translating. Work and Days” was funded by the Deutscher Übersetzerfonds through the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media’s NEUSTART KULTUR programme. The video-portraits will be published at regular intervals from July 2023.

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