Editorial Vol 11#3

Mediamatic Off-Line

Germans think that showing the national flag is sinister. World Cup football in 2006 brought about a notable swing. Germans overcame — temporarily — their fear of association with right-wing nationalism. They were proud of their fatherland and put out flags en masse for the first time. But if flags are still fluttering six months after the World Cup, Florian Thalhofer would like to know why. Should he be afraid of the owners of these forgotten flags?

Thalhofer started searching for people who had kept their flags flying, together with photographer Juliane Henrich. These encounters resulted in an interactive road movie that may be read as an image of the times, not just of Germany, but also of Western Europe.

The movie goes into the concept of vaderland (fatherland) and the ambivalent feelings that national symbols may arouse. The flag appeals to feelings of unity and identity. But uneasy feelings about right wing radicals are never far away. Vergessene Fahnen poses questions about the stereotypes and prejudices of the viewer, and of the maker.