The Halfmoon Files: A Ghost Story

(Germany, 2007, 87 mins, Digital Betacam)
In German with English subtitles


11 December 1916. For one minute, Mall Singh sings a heartrending song into a phonographic funnel connected to a recording device for shellac records. The words and melody originated then and there. Singh was an Indian soldier in the British Army who was imprisoned in the Half Moon Camp for colonial prisoners of war near Berlin. The recordings are part of an ambitious sound archive representing all nations of the world. The screen remains black while we listen to the exotic voices from Half Moon Camp. The exotic prisoners were interesting and easily manageable study material for ethnographers, musicologists and linguists. The prisoners were not used as objects of study. The entertainment industry also exploited the prisoners in a desert drama film shot in the camp, in which the prisoners were forced to play fierce savages.

"A beautiful experimental film… I was crying at the end." The People’s Paper (India)

"The Halfmoon Files is a gift – a generous gift and an invitation. An invitation to journey to distant lands that turn out to be very close after all, to seek the unexpected, to listen to the noises of an old barrack or a landscape that gradually emerges from the fog, and to observe closely the many possible images of a voice. A film as invitation to follow ghosts and at the same time a modest but nonetheless intense call to think.” Nicole Wolf