The contents of a black briefcase lead us into a superficially well-ordered life in West Germany in 1970, in a city that can be seen as representative of the entire country. In this briefcase: the meticulous documentation of an affair between the small business owner Hans and his secretary Monika.
Miraculously salvaged from a rubbish tip, in transit via art galleries, its contents compiled as a book, a briefcase – and its very odd collection of objects and documents – is the star of this film. With obsessive pedantry and in language that combines clinical precision and icy vulgarity, for twenty months, “Hans” (39) documented his relationship with “Monika” (24). But as well as being an object of desire, who exactly was this Monika/Margret? Dissecting the contents of this “treasure-chest”, the directors set about reconstructing her domestic, professional and love life as they expand the body of their materials, using institutional and educational films, magazines, newspapers, opinion polls and statistical data from the time, outlining the “average” framework of a life marked by the achievements of its time: improved living standards after the “economic miracle”, mobility, sexual fulfilment and access to medical contraception.
A large part of the film is set in “modern” urban areas made with materials such as concrete, steel and asphalt. From this intimate chronicle of adultery emerges a tableau of the complex and subtle mores of a society that’s also “modern”, and its well-honed mechanisms to control people. Does Szenario’s Monika (a part-statistical, part-real figure) fit the mould imposed, or has she tried to escape it? The question remains…
2.27GB | 1h 29m | 1280×720 | mkv