Benedikt Ritter

Director of Photography

Stimmen zu NIE SOLO SEIN

„So sind die 8. Winterthurer Kurzfilmtage wirklich zu Ende. Das Festival selbst hat einen zum Zweifeln gebracht, denn die Zeit lief gerne rückwärts in diesen Kurzfilmen. Das wurde nirgends so schön gezeigt wie im Film «Nie solo seiN», in dem der deutsche Filmemacher Jan Schomburg und sein Schweizer Kameramann Benedikt Ritter dank dem ältesten Kinotrick eine liebevoll verkehrte Welt porträtieren: Der Film läuft rückwärts, und schon werden aus Taschendieben Wohltäter, die ihren Opfern keine Brieftaschen stehlen, sondern zustecken. Und während die Menschen immer jünger werden, reinigen die grossen Fabrikkamine die Luft. Wie sein Titel ist «Nie solo seiN» ein verspieltes Palindrom, das denn auch prompt den Förderpreis der Jury zugesprochen erhielt.“

Johannes Binotto, Neue Zürcher Zeitung vom 17.11.2004

„Sharing the screen with most of the full-length films were a smattering of short films, which preceded the features.  Now, here is where NYFF ’04 (New York Film Festival 2004) drops the ball. With maybe all of three exceptions, most of the shorts came and went unnoticed. Given the deluge of shorts and wanna-be filmmakers trying to make their mark in the world of shorts, this is unfortunate. Saving the selection was a short from Germany, prestigiously and justly chosen as a companion piece to the closing film Sideways.  Never Even (Nie solo seiN) proves to be 10 minutes of  pure delight and post-production wonderment. 

Director Jan Schomburg creates a world where the end of life is actually the beginning and it goes backwards, or forward, from there. Many characters make up this clever mix of story, visuals and editing.  Max though is central as he has his inquisitive and humorous journey through the backwards society.  While being able to quench his thirst is seems ever elusive to Max, his need for love is satisfied.  So too is the audience satisfied, especially the audience I was in, critics and journalists thirsty and searching for short films worthy of the NYFF and reminiscent of selections from festivals gone by (like 2002).  Never Even was one.  Hopefully, this film will find a showcase beyond the festival circuit so many can enjoy and appreciate it.“

Paula Farmer, WBAI Arts Magazine

"Nie solo sein" is a philosophical experiment on the basic element of the film-time image. To go forward and rewind in time is the most important privilege of film compared to real life. In this aspect the film helps the spectator to experience the same as the heroe, e.g. to go forward wheras others rewind/go back. Finally film can bring the ones who are going forwards and backwards in a dance. Beyond ist philosophical strength the film motivates us to question a quintessential theme with an outstanding visual and technical capacity. Hence it is given the first prize with the vote of all jury members - unanimously."

Jurybegründung Golden Orange Award of the Antalya Film Festival 2004

The world of Never eveN (Nie solo seiN) runs in reverse.  People grow young, items spring from garbage cans into their hands, and they ride their bicycles backwards down the road.  Relationships start as the calm love of two old souls and then get wilder until at their sexual peak, the two people never see each other again.  The story follows Max, a normal man who wakes up one day to find himself living his life forward.  His immediate problem: he's thirsty.  He can't use a faucet because water shoots from the drain up; where would he put the glass?  He can't buy a drink as bottles are taken empty and then filled with each sip.  It isn't that I couldn't come up with an answer for Max's problem, or for any of the myriad problems he might run into, but that I had never thought of those dilemmas before.  That made this new, and for a film critic, exciting.  The plot is simple although the events are complex.  

Jan Schomburg and Benedikt Ritter shoot this fantasy with a little more color, a little more contrast, than reality, which sets it aside enough to make it believable as its own world.  Jakob Hüfner makes a completely sympathetic Max.  The only other character of note is Max's girlfriend, played by Sandra Borgmann.  She is there to be charming and desirable and in that she succeeds, even with her limited screen time.  What is surprising is how romantic this piece is. 

While the find of Slamdance, I can't say that the screening room helped the experience.  With a low placed screen and a flat floor, it was difficult to see the subtitles around the heads of those in front of me.  But Never eveN works even if the occasional phrase is left un-translated.  Schomburg has said, "I wanted to make a film that feels good and that entertains and makes people laugh in an intelligent way."  He succeeded.

Foster on Film – Short Film analysis