Commendation of the Ecumenical Jury, Oberhausen 2017

Doing one’s duty, running errands, the system of military service, everyday and office life and family must be managed. Soldiers take responsibility for others; when their relationships fail, however, they are left alone: the detained former soldiers are sentenced and locked away. They know for what but not why. Because their punishment therefore stands for society’s flight into perplexity, the latter severs all ties with the people in question. This film gives a voice to these soldiers, talks about its impressive subject in rough recordings and harmonious, precisely filmed images. The hand-written notes that serve as breaks condense the detainees’ misery, work with the visual level to make their appeals of rage and loss directly to us, the community.

That meaning has become empty becomes emblematic at the end of this powerful and relevant work. Liverpool FC, their club, emerges as the great unifier of this community – but its familiar hymn, “You’ll never walk alone” which is thus implied reinforces the ambiguity of the former soldiers’ situation. Their lives are embedded in a close and separate system of society. The space of guilt widens, addressing issues of violence and society and what constitutes humanity by motive and identity.