Like Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship
By Vika Kirchenbauer
24’33”, Experimental Documentary, Germany, 2012, DE & EN
‘Rats are glorious deserters and we must admire them. Rats don’t want to be captains trying to keep the cause afloat. But swim on open water.’
Lyrically poignant yet contained, ‚Like Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship‘ is an intimate piece that combines personal subjectivity with the clinical objectivity of medical reports, challenging the very notions of these categories. The film is partly based on the author’s psychiatric assessments diagnosing her with „Gender Identity Disorder“, in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases. Along with the discourse of the legally mandatory documents for transgendered people are her own personal writings that reflect upon the nature of memory – the present interpretation of the past – and question the possibility of any coherent biographic or filmic narrative.
As evocative images inconspicuously blend with found family footage, a multilayered reality emerges in which the distinction between what is true or false becomes unimportant and obsolete. Although in line with topics such as general assumptions of gender, or „popular knowledge“ of transgender people, ‚Like Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship‘ is, in fact, a deep reflection on the relation of „abnormal individuals“ to authority apparatuses such as state, law and psychiatry.