Revision – Berlinale Forum 2012


Director: Philip Scheffner
Germany, 2012 (European Premiere)

Between 1988 and 2009, nearly 15,000 people died attempting to cross European borders.

The circumstances that led to the deaths of Grigore Velcu and Eudache Calderar on the German-Polish border in 1992 have not been explained even today. According to official reports, they were victims of a hunting accident. A trial failed to pursue the most decisive questions and eventually ended in an acquittal. Their families never even got to know that a trial had been held.

Twenty years later, Philip Scheffner (Day of the Sparrow) carries out the investigation that never took place back then, seeking out the dead men’s families in Romania and recording the statements they were unable to give until now.

Revision is a crime story with multiple beginnings.

Scheffner interviews the German pastor of the church where Neo-Nazis desecrated the grave of Grigore Velcu’s grandmother. Velcu was shot after getting papers to retrieve her body. A photographer tells us of his shock when he witnessed German police allowing a Neo-Nazi mob to petrol bomb and destroy a Roma sanctuary.

We hear from the first responders to the shootings, who were never examined by the police or the court. We learn it took police five hours to investigate. By then, the field was in flames. The next day, the field was ploughed, destroying all evidence. There was never a crime scene investigation.

We hear from witnesses, the men in the field with Grigore Velcu and Eudache Calderar when the shooting started. “We stood up and screamed… Police came with gun and a scope… More shots fired… His head was cut like a melon… How terrible to see how the blood spurt from him… The police car disappeared… Cars came to pick us up.”

And we hear from the families of Grigore Velcu and Eudache Calderar, by all accounts upstanding men. Today they would be citizens of the EU, free to enter Germany or any other European country. But in 1992 they were just two illegal immigrants, hunted and killed in a cornfield like wild boar.

Insurance claims – which would have been payable under the landowner’s policy – were never filed, because their families were never informed of their eligibility.

Berlinale Section: Forum

Film website:

Read coverage in Taz, Die Tagezeitung (in German): Ein Morgen, der nicht zu Ende ist; Der ungeklärte Tod im Grenzgebiet