Who‘s Afraid of Sibylle Berg

Wer hat Angst vor Sibylle Berg

Who‘s Afraid of Sibylle Berg

Wiltrud Baier & Sigrun Köhler


»Before Sibylle Berg became Sibylle Berg, nobody knew that she is Sybille Berg.«

Sibylle Berg, celebrated novelist, playwright and columnist known for her provocations and the sharpness of her comments, loves to dissect the realities of middle-class life. She has a reputation for being flamboyant and brilliant, but many people, who revile her as a »preacher of hatred on behalf of singleton society« or a »scaremonger« take offence at her cutting rhetoric.

Who’s afraid of Sibylle Berg?
With precisely articulated turns of phrase, Berg takes the film’s two directors on an anecdotal and humorous foray through her eventful life. She talks about her youth in East Germany, about training to become a puppeteer and relocating to the West, and she confirms the myth that she worked as a cleaner and secretary, among other things, before a publishing company showed an interest in her. She recalls a devastating accident and laconically proclaims: »Before I discovered happiness or anything like that, I didn‘t want to be dead.« She admits finding »Thomas Mann incredibly dumb« and describes her own work as »fringe group shit«.

In the two years it took to shoot the film together, Baier and Köhler approach a female protagonist for the first time. Their pictures appear to be spontaneous, often random, conveying a sense of proximity in spite of the film’s professionalism. The film is not a polished artist’s portrait; it is a fragmentary collection of impressions, which come together at the end to create an individual view of Berg’s persona. It demonstrates that behind the shy author is a shy person.

Director / Script / Cinematography / Editing

Wiltrud Baier, Sigrun Köhler


Dominik Avenwedde, Ansgar Frerich, Wiltrud Baier, Sigrun Köhler


Wiltrud Baier


Zorro Film

Wiltrud Baier & Sigrun Köhler

After graduating from Baden-Württemberg Film Academy in 2000, the two directors have worked together as BÖLLER UND BROT. Their collaborative work focuses on artistic documentaries, and their films have garnered numerous international prizes. Their debut film Schotter wie Heu became particularly popular. They received the Grimme Award in 2012 for Alarm am Hauptbahnhof. In addition to full-length documentaries on the subject of time, faith, fame and power, they have made numerous films about art and artists, and have received scholarships for their work.

Films by Wiltrud Baier & Sigrun Köhler
Where Is the Beer and When Do We Get Paid? 2012 | Alarm am Hauptbahnhof 2011 | Häuser. Gläser. Hosen 2010 | Homemade 2007 | Der Große Navigator 2007 | Mütter der Kunst oder Friede Freude Mutterkuchen 2005 | Leinwand des Lebens 2004 | Victoire, Je suis encore au lit 2003 | Schotter wie Heu 2002 | How Time Flies 2000