Peter Nestler

Peter Nestler – Aufsätze AKA Essays (1963)

A cheerful take on the lives of school children in a Swiss rural environment. Young pupils recite short essays they have written on subjects ranging from the long walk to school, the distribution of milk during breaks, and to a brawl in the courtyard. The use of the original Swiss German dialect instead of High German emphasizes Nestler’s fascination with the simple, the innocent and the natural. Read More »

Peter Nestler – Att vara zigenare AKA Zigeuner Sein AKA Being Gypsy (1970)

Being Gypsy is one of Peter and Zsóka Nestler’s most important works. The film uncovers the history and fate of the Roma and Sinti in Germany under Nazism and their continued persecution after the war.

In the Romani language, Roma means “people.” This film lends a voice to these people, who tell of how they were arrested and locked up in camps and prisons, and how 90 percent of their families never returned from the death camps. They speak in dialects from Burgenland, Bavaria and Saxony. They live in desolate barracks on the fringes of cities, where ten people share a room with damp walls. The children are sick all winter long. Read More »

Peter Nestler – Ödenwaldstetten (1964)


Portrait of a small south German village and its residents in the early sixties.
Rural culture is undergoing a transformation caused by the intrusion of the industrial world. Gestures at work and words of its inhabitants.

From the start, Nestler’s films attest how an observational description of reality can become an authentic art form. He consistently refuses to comply with the insistence of television editors and directors to provide explanatory comments of the pictures through neutral narration. Nestler insists on leaving things and testimonies of people standing side by side before the camera. But one who violates the unwritten policy conditions that come along as formal laws of the medium (motto: “people will not understand it…”) will be placed on the index. So he never became a TV reporter. In March 2007 he was dedicated a retrospective at the Paris Cinéma du réel documentary film festival at the Centre Pompidou for this. “My first films in the early 60s (that weren’t ‘political’) contained something that was irritating, disturbing the peace, especially in the films Mülheim (Ruhr), Ödenwaldstetten (both 1964) and Von Griechenland (1965). I was cut off the money supply, and so I moved to Sweden”, thus Nestler 1998 laconically. from ray Filmmagazin Read More »