About

Sea of Vapours is an extended-length documentary feature observing the years 1946-66, during which Hitler’s Deputy Rudolf Hess and 6 fellow high-ranking Nuremberg-sentenced Nazi war criminals were imprisoned in cavernous 300-capacity West Berlin Spandau Prison. Sea of Vapours takes up and collates all available documentary sources to script the re-enactment of the years of this eccentric chapter of history and curious part of Berlin’s idiosyncratic history, lesser known and largely untold. In place of conventional “character arcs”, “turning points”, “plot” or “action”, Sea of Vapours is instead populated by the re-enacted minutiae of the 7 prisoners’ sentences. Omitting, bewildering, or subverting these requisites of conventional narrative structure and content, Sea of Vapours engages the principle “Here time becomes space” (per Schopenhauer, Wagner’s Parsifal), rendering Spandau and these twenty Spandau years – the cells, mess, prison chapel, yard, and the details of prison life occupying each – in the very terms of the saga and German epic, and as a prism reflective of the preoccupations of German art, music, and culture. Sea of Vapours is an observational documentary and unconventional cinema-experiment in the reconstitution of history: time and space past.