The Royal Palace Dresden

Documentary about the reconstruction of The Royal Palace Dresden
2018/ 80min
Direction: Ralf Kukula

After green light for the reconstruction of the Dresden castle had been given in 1985, the first construction crane turnedin the enormous ruin, which Honecker's comrades wanted to level to the ground several times in the decades before, by 1986. It is the largest construction site of the Free State of Saxony, not only due to its duration, but also with its estimated construction cost of 350 million euros. During the entire construction period, camera teams – initially from the DEFA animation studio, since 1991 by Balance Film – followed the construction process and created one of the world's largest documentaries of this kind. This extensive footage is now condensed to a one-hour film looking back on the highlights of the reconstruction.
As starting points, the film visits the various exhibitions / museums of the castle today (for example the Small Palace Courtyard, the Turkish Chamber, the Giants’ Hall, the Green Vault, the Grand Castle Courtyard (with sgraffito and altar), the Hausmann Tower with its clock tower or the Schützkapelle with the rare loop rib vault). From these we go on a journey back in time to the pre-war period (with archive pictures of Ernst Hirsch) and discover the secrets of old trades and ruins.

We have accompanied our four protagonists over many years in all stages of work (research, designs, samples, executions, demonstrations, etc.). Originally, none of them was a professional restorer or "sgraffito painter” but they spent most of their working lives in the Dresden Royal Palace. After more than 25 years, the last sgraffiti are being scratched now. Reviewing such a long period of time also allows personal views and emotions. Siegfried Wunderlich recently had to give up for health and age reasons. Peter Gabriel, also at retirement age, struggles bravely on crutch on the scaffolding. Matthias Zahn is now boss of a team of about 10 people, to which Martin Wolf still belongs with his 77 years of age. Coupled with original recordings from the past the film offers a detailed and round picture of the period.