Who Is Afraid of Sibylle Berg?

Germany 2015, 84', Documentary
Wiltrud Baier, Sigrun Köhler
Zorro Film | www.zorrofilm.de



"Before Sibylle Berg became Sibylle Berg, nobody knew that she is Sybille Berg."

Sibylle Berg, celebrated novelist, playwright and columnist known for her provocations and the sharpness of her comments, loves to dissect the realities of middle-class life. She has a reputation for being flamboyant and brilliant, but many people, who revile her as a »preacher of hatred on behalf of singleton society« or a »scaremonger« take offence at her cutting rhetoric.

Who‘s afraid of Sibylle Berg?
With precisely articulated turns of phrase, Berg takes the film‘s two directors on an anecdotal and humorous foray through her eventful life. She talks about her youth in East Germany, about training to become a puppeteer and relocating to the West, and she confirms the myth that she worked as a cleaner and secretary, among other things, before a publishing company showed an interest in her. She recalls a devastating accident and laconically proclaims: »Before I discovered happiness or anything like that, I didn‘t want to be dead.« She admits finding »Thomas Mann incredibly dumb« and describes her own work as »fringe group shit«.

In the two years it took to shoot the film together, Baier and Köhler approach a female protagonist for the first time.Their pictures appear to be spontaneous, often random, conveying a sense of proximity in spite of the film‘s professionalism. The film is not a polished artist‘s portrait; it is a fragmentary collection of impressions, which come together at the end to create an individual view of Berg‘s persona. It demonstrates that behind the shy author is a shy person.


Wiltrud Baier, Sigrun Köhler
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