Denkmal-Film Verhaag


Fear - Gateway to Freedom

a film by Bertram Verhaag

90 min

Please note: This film is only available in German!


A performance artist uses himself as a human bell, swinging back and forth between two sheets of metal until his body is bruised and bloody. Gaby feels compelled to check and check again, just in case: Did she really lock the door? Did she remember to turn off the light? Is the iron unplugged? Is the stove switched off? A former psychotic paints pictures of her fear. Laura, paralysed with panic, hasn’t left her apartment for months. However dissimilar these individual situations might appear, those affected recount strikingly similar stories of fear, its sources – and of their journeys to overcome it.

Openly and honestly, the protagonists of this film talk about their strongest feelings and most profound fears: sensations of vertigo and panic, compulsive washing, psychotic paranoia. But they also recount the kind of fears everyone can relate to: being afraid to assert yourself or, now and again, to put yourself before other people.

The individuals’ painful paths to freedom are woven together to create a colourful tapestry of collective attempts to find redemption. From heroes in fairytales to daredevil bridge-jumpers, from blood-spattered video games to the sterile Gulf War. We start to see connections between suppressed aggression and fear-dimming drugs, between illnesses such as cancer and AIDS and our divided image of God. A connection is traced between our fear of lust and our lust for fear.

“Fear: The Gateway to Freedom” is a moving and, ultimately, optimistic film. Fear is revealed as a friend – a guide towards hidden parts of ourselves which, perhaps, have not yet had the chance to live. It’s a quest to find the keys – obscured by fear – to the “Gateway to Freedom”.

Buch & Regie Bertram Verhaag Kamera Waldemar Hauschild - Claus Strigel
Schnitt Uwe Klimmeck Ton Produktionsleitung E. Katharina Ritter

In Co-Produktion mit SWF, ARTE und der Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung NRW
© 1992 DENKmal-Film Verhaag GmbH