Project Description

At the centre of the former GDR.

Lost Water 1 – 2 – 3 – 4

Video on Demand:
Streaming & Download
In German language

Watch also:
Trailer Part 3 in English
Trailer Part 4 in English


Happy Birthday, dear Verlorenwasser!

30 years ago in March 1990: first free elections in the GDR and at the same time the first day of filming the Lost Water (Verlorenwasser) films.

Restaurant Zur Hirschtränke and filmmaker Peter Roloff cordially invite you to a colorful birthday party in and around the hamlet of Verlorenwasser. With contributors from Verlorenwasser, from Hohenspringe to Austria, with new and old films, guided walks, poetry, photos, stories and curiosities, we look back with joy and care. Because there are problems in the Hoher Fläming Nature Park. Can the Verlorenwasser stream still be saved?

1 p.m. admission, from 2 p.m. program until the polling stations close at 6 p.m.
Restaurant Zur Hirschtränke, Dorfstr. 9, 14806 Bad Belzig, district Verlorenwasser
phone (033847) 40500,

Admission is free.

Pick up at Bad Belzig train station by bus at 1:30 p.m., back at the station at 6:30 p.m. With the kind support of Omnibusverkehr Armin Glaser.

Some few metres removed from the geographic centre of the former GDR springs an inconspicuous little stream, Verlorenwasser (Lost Water). In the past it vanished back into the earth a few steps from its point of origin, only to reappear a few kilometres away.
Verlorenwasser Creek is the point of departure for a collage of historical documents, noises and musical fragments, interviews, observations, radio reports and idyllic, filmed forays through an (apparently) empty landscape. Fläming Heath Heights are less than a hundred kilometres south of Berlin, on the very edge of Brandenburg, yet in the heart of Prussia.

First day of filming of ‘Verlorenwasser 1’: the first free elections on March 18, 1990.

In the third, and fictional, part of the film, ‘Krasna Amerika’ (Beautiful America), we follow the 1899 odyssey of the Russian fabric merchant Igor Gruseveyitch and are witness to his filmed impressions of Russia, America and Germany. His film is made in the intention of persuading his wife to emigrate to the USA. She is reluctant, Igor takes measures, and solves his problem – in Verlorenwasser.

In the fourth part, the film-maker explores the present situation at deserted military, riot police and state security premises. Roloff loses himself repeatedly in the traces of the past and their cold aura. Verlorenwasser becomes a metaphor for the disappearance and reappearance of history and stories in the flow of time.

director: Peter Roloff
genre: film d’essay
duration: 100 min.
format: 16 mm

original title Verlorenwasser 1-2-3-4
year 1990-2010
duration 27 + 31 + 22 + 20 min. = 100 min.
format 16 mm | 1:1,34 | color/b&w
writer | director | photographer Peter Roloff
2nd camera | sound Klaus Dörries | Carolin Lingke | Martin Muser | Andreas Ruft | Anke Schäfer
editing Barbara Kirchner (part 1) | Frank Behnke (part 2 | Peter Roloff (part 3) | Manfred Hielscher (part 4)
music Peter Roloff | Jens Jamin | Adolph Hofner | Polka Service
music recording studio Studio-Nord Bremen
sound mixes Lothar Mankewitz | Martin Steyer | Peter Roloff
narrators Edi Samland | Erika Eller | Peter Lewan
opticals Thomas Wilk | Moser + Rosié
film labs Defa Studio für Dokumentarfilme | Defa Adlershof | Arri Berlin | CinePostproduktion – Geyer Berlin
poster artwork tho Aspern . design
production assistants Andrea Kuserau | Jana Drescher
line-producers Florian Körner von Gustorf | Susanne Lob
funding Goethe-Institut | Kulturelle Filmförderung Berlin | Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg | Filmbüro Bremen
production Peter Roloff | maxim film
Director‘s Statement:

Verlorenwasser is an imaginary place in a real landscape. In search of an empty Germany, I found the stream on a map and was fascinated by its name. My first trip to the source of Verlorenwasser was the living out of a daydream. Before me it lay, that allegedly long-forgotten, Prussian, and so very placid Germany. That was a good twenty years ago. The place, or better still, the idea of that place, never lost its grip on me.

The pictures on the walls of memory may lose shape but they do not fade. The landscape around Verlorenwasser charms with its meagreness. The eye rests on accustomed things: a field, a forest, a pylon, a fence. Greedily I search for unusual devices, peculiarities in natural forms or changes of weather. Traces of the unusual. I carve pictures out of nature with my camera. I dissect sounds. The indifference of the landscape should yield to my demand that it provide narrative. It turns into an obsession. I force the landscape to speak. Its signs should learn language. Holes in all things.
Each and every one of us digs deeper, follows imagination. Napoleon’s fleeing soldiers search the forests for a hidden war chest. Inhabitants search for the buried statue of Borussia on the Hagelberg after the Second World War. Behind the idyllic facade of Verlorenwasser I see the war inscription. ‘1945’ – the figure inscribes itself in the signs. Or do I form the number in the signs? Whoever determines the rules escapes the question. I transform Verlorenwasser into a stage. Voilà – the curtains open, Igor Gruseveyitch appears before my eyes. I have him travel the world and finally die in Verlorenwasser. But Igor resists me. He stages his death. And thereby flees determination to live a new life in another place. I, however, remain in Verlorenwasser.
(Peter Roloff)

Theatrical release in Germany
March 18, 2010

“Message to Man” St. Petersburg (parts 1+3)
Figueira da Foz Portugal (parts 1+2)
Documentary Festival Leipzig (part3)

Awards (part 1)
Best Documentary – Palm Springs, USA; Best Short Film – Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Honorable Mention – Ann Arbor, USA. 3. Prize Audience Award for Documentaries – Selb, Germany

“Planete” DF 1 (part 1)
RTL 4, Benelux (part 1)
SBS Australia (part 3)

Video on Demand:
Streaming & Download
German language

Theatrical and DVD distribution in Germany
Basis Film Verleih Berlin

World Sales
maxim film