films – Cinema Akil

The Halfmoon Files
Philip Scheffner
Germany | | 87 mins | Documentary | German, English, Hindi, Punjabi, Nepali (English Subtitles)

Mall Singh‘s crackling words are heard as he spoke the min to a phonographic funnel on December 11, 1916 in the town of Wünsdorf, near Berlin.Ninety years later, Mall Singh is a number on an olds hellac record in an archive – one amongst hundreds of voices of colonial soldiers of World War I.The recordings were produced as the result of an uniquealliance between the military, the scientific community and the entertainment industry.In his experimental search THE HALFMOON FILES, Philip Scheffner follows the traces of these voices to the originof their recording. Like a memory game – which remains incomplete right until the end – he uncovers pictures and sounds that revive the ghosts of the past. His protagonists‘ words intersect along the concentric spirals the story fol-lows. Those who recorded with phonographs, photo and film cameras were the ones to write official history.Mall Singh and the other prisoners of war of the Half-moon Camp disappeared from this story. Their spirits and ghostly appearances seem to play with the filmmaker, to ambush him. They pursue him on his path, to bring their voices back to their home countries. Yet the story of these ghosts escapes the control of the narrator. And the ghosts do not disperse.