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Another Berlin

Oh Moscow

The Press Junket

In the Snow

Invitation to Armenia

Tango Ghost


The Cleaners Revenge

Gorbachev and Kissinger

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Another Berlin

The Berlin film festival begins for me with an exchange of texts with Tilda Swinton, who is going to be there with a film as well, a couple of days before me. We are trying to meet, but the last texts are exchanged as I board the plane in London and she travels back to the airport in Berlin. We miss each other by minutes.

The hotel, the Ritz Carlton, has been open for only a year and was built on the former ‘no-man’s land’ between East and West Berlin before the wall came down. There is still that feeling in the air: at night, in the Potsdamer Platz, the wind and rain battering the bleak square, the night seems darker, somehow, than in London, recalling the old days of East Berlin (and Moscow, and all the other East European cities I visited before ‘perestroika’) when the level of illumination in the streets at night was always very low. Ecologically entirely correct, of course, but a completely different city experience: shadowy, monolithic, the huge communist buildings towering darkly like edifices.

‘Berlin’ was also the name of a series of performances I made in collaboration with Rose English in the late seventies; they took place in a private house (which we were ‘squatting’ at the time), an ice-rink, and a swimming-pool. In addition to Rose and myself there was also a chorus of six men and a boy. At one point the men balanced in a line on a marble mantelpiece in the house, above a roaring fire, dressed in nineteenth-century frock-coats and holding large white hankerchiefs, as if about to weep, whilst I delivered a speech about silence. On the ice-rink they towed me across the ice on skates – I was wearing a huge crinoline of autumn leaves at the time, and was naked from the waist up, which led the manager of the rink to stalk onto the ice, enraged, and stop the performance – and in the Olympic-sized pool they descended into the water fully clothed as Rose jumped from the highest diving board, wearing a black evening dress and pearls, to join me in the water below…..

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Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated