TALKS Werke & Tage “I had a love-hate relationship with this country back then...”
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“I had a love-hate relationship with this country back then...”

Film Series Translating. Work and Days.

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Übersetzen. Werke und Tage: Christiane Körner

Christiane Körner, born in 1962, discovered Dostoyevski when she read Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus as a young woman. It awakened a curiosity about the Russian language within her. After studying Slavic Studies, she went to Moscow in the early 1990s as a DAAD teacher. Her relationship to Russia was ambivalent. She felt at home emotionally, but felt the violence that pervaded Russian society. Christiane Körner began to explore the literature of her new environment, which she felt to be so contradictory, through translation. Since then, she has translated a wide range of different voices into German: from avant-garde writers like Pawel Salzman to post-modern writers like Tatyana Tolstaya, Pavel Zaltsman, Dmitri Prigov and Vladimir Sorokin. It was important to her to translate texts which dealt with the Second World War. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine eighty years after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, using the "fight against fascism" as a twisted pretext, has also deeply shaken her professional self-image.

Filmstill: Christiane Körner

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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