Jörg Heitmann & Philip Scheffner / dogfilm: Juristische Körper

Juristische Körper, Jörg Heitmann & Philip Scheffner, dogfilm, 49‘, FRG, ZDF 14.1.1996, OV with English subtitles

The dogfilm group’s home was the independent art scene of the 1990s in Berlin. The collective developed its style from a mixture of video art and documentary film, compilation and staging - intended as an intervention in television, which as the most important medium of the time was influential in shaping public opinion. Juristische Körper is the first of several dogfilm productions to counter the rendering invisible of undocumented people through a cinematic vision, whilst simultaneously addressing one’s own identity: “The passport marks the intersection between the physical and the juristic body,” the filmmakers write. “It is an expression of the power to define who is ‘German’ and who is ‘non-German’, who is ‘European’ and who is ‘non-European’, who is ‘legal’ and who is ‘illegal’”.

Jörg Heitmann (*1965) is a German filmmaker and cultural producer. He was a member of the artists’ groups Botschaft e.V. and dogfilm. For Das kleine Fernsehspiel, he made the essay films Juristische Körper (1995) and killer.berlin.doc (1999) with Bettina Ellerkamp, which premiered at the Berlinale Forum. He is co- founder of silent green Kulturquartier.

Philip Scheffner (*1966) is a German filmmaker. He was a member of the artists’ groups Botschaft e.V. and dogfilm. For Das kleine Fernsehspiel, he made the essay film Juristische Körper (1995). His artistic documentaries and hybrid films have received numerous awards among others, Havarie (2016) and Europe (2022).