Laura Geiger, Tom Kretschmer
The downpour is penetrating the train station’s tarpaper rooftops. Its time-worn stairways are awash, and the platform’s cast-iron columns are standing in water. The personnel do as they have always done, with a kind of stoic calm – simply get out the broom and start sweeping the liquid away. The lavatory attendant Erna is pleased that the flower bed and trees are finally receiving a much-needed drink of water.
Loved and detested, Berlin’s rustically elegant Ostkreuz train station is a higgledy-piggledy series of stopgap measures made permanent, a cobbled-together imposition upon every visitor. Without a single elevator, making do with 1920s technology, it reminds one more of a museum train station than what one would expect of Germany’s busiest light rail junction. A ten year reconstruction phase will see it converted into a single, large station; placed within the context of a 130 year history, almost too much, too soon.
The film bespeaks the loss of atmosphere, individuality and social ties, suggests that there is a difficult path to be taken between the trade-offs of necessary change and the preservation of evolved structures.
It is an attempt to memorialize in poetic images this decrepit and yet so charming train station at Ostkreuz.