The Path to the Past

Original Title: Bittere Kirschen

technical information

2011; Germany; Drama, Road-movie; 107 minutes; HDCAM-SR; 1:1.77 (16:9); Stereo; Original Language: German; Subtitles: English


Didi Danquart
Didi Danquart
Johann Feindt
Silke Botsch
Production Company
noirfilm Filmproduktion
Production Design:
Myrna Drews
Andrea Schein
In Collaboration with:
ARTE Germany


Magdalena Behsler (Lena)
Anna Stieblich
Julius Dahlmann
Martin Lüttge
Father Richard Franzens
Wolfram Koch
Roland Kukulis
  • Didi Danquart

Didi Danquart

Born in 1955 in Singen (Hohentwiel). He studied psychology and sociology in Freiburg and he was founding member of the "Freiburg's Media Factory" - a political film collective, which carried on several documentary projects. Since 1978 Didi Danquart was very active in the area of documentary films and very successful with "Wundbrand", which he shot during the civil war in Bosnia in 1993. His first feature film was "Bohai Bohau", which he shot in 1995. Didi also gained experience as theatre director during his years at several theatre companies in Germany. However, ever since he's working as director, writer and producer (co-founder of NOIRFILM) and is teaching film at the "Academy of Art and Design" in Karlsruhe. "The Path to the Past" is based on the book "Lena's Love" by Judith Kuckart.

Director's Note

"Forgetting is a privilege of the dead", wrote Heiner Müller in his text "Mommsen's Block" (1993), as a philosophical reflection on the human, about all dictatorships and across other social formations. Accordingly, the remembrance is a privilege of the living. When in 2007 the author Judith Kuckart offered me to adapt her novel Lena's love, I discovered in her book both ideas of privilege, of the dead and the living. The challenge was: how to visualize the theoretical concept of memory, to seek only the language? Watching again the great movie "Wild Strawberries" by Ingmar Bergman with its character Isak Borg, an ancient and malignant stubborn professor of medicine, I saw the reflection of one of my main characters, Julius Dahlman. Surprisingly, this old film helped me enormously to find the artistic access for today's implementation of Kuckart's story and motivated me to find my own way to tell a mythical road movie in which the fates of three individuals fuse in the memory and the actual time. My film is therefore a tribute to the great master of mythological films. The original German title BITTERE KIRSCHEN (Bitter Cherries) is a tribute to the Bergman's title.

PATH TO THE PAST is the last episode of my trilogy about human condition, after "Viejud Levi" (1999) and "Offset" (2006). Characterized by a very personal experience in my life and the social stigmatization of people based on their provenance, my films are a rebellion against the collective displacement, the social disasters and the breaking up of population's norms. The social expectations are sometimes improper: the children of Nazi perpetrators can also be victims of Fascism; a priest - despite celibacy - can also have erotic feelings and cherish women. The human condition is generally referred to the condition of the humans and the nature of man. In "PATH TO THE PAST" I let the poetic images speak when no words are needed and used a language that classifies itself in the power of nature, without being too far from everyday language. For this cinematic journey, the great actors embody some archetypes, they are committed to themselves without neglecting their dialogue. That's why my film is a creation, that reveals itself only in its complex entity, which overrides the classical dramaturgy (as a cinematographic work). The language merges in the images to create a mythology of life and death. "THE PATH TO THE PAST" throws new questions until the end of the story without answering them explicitly.

Selective Filmography

Feature Film
Das letzte Wort
Viehjud Levi
Lemberg - Geöffnete Stadt
Bohai, Bohau
The Pannwitz Stare
TV Series
SOKO Stuttgart
photo of Didi Danquart
THE PATH TO THE PAST - EastWest Filmdistribution GmbH