Untertage (Days Under)
The verbatim text, written with chalk deep under the ground on a hacked away part of the wall and, to prevent possible misunderstandings, accompanied by an arrow indicating the right direction: zur Hölle, to hell. This is the black humour of the miners of the German Lohberg-Osterfeld coalmine in the Ruhr Area. Day in day out, they descend into the shafts of this cave that is almost 1300 meters deep. Filmmaker Jiska Rickels accompanied the colliers. She refrained from conversations and returned with fascinating, impressionistic images from this unknown, disappearing world, where the men can still smile going down and on their way back up wearily close their eyes. After their shift, the men smoke a cigarette, sitting naked in the enormous, central shower hall, before scrubbing each other's backs. The soot scarcely comes off. The documentary, official directing début of Rickels, won the Prize of the City of Utrecht and the Tuschinski Film Award.