A human being is a human being.

Homage 2024: Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster


Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster © Lataster&Films


The individual and the unconditional belief in them are the leitmotifs of Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster's work. Their sense of the significance of the everyday does not lead them to the great dramas and settings, but very close to human existence.

The couple have been making films together for over three decades. After meeting in the mid-1970s in the kitchen of the student dormitory in Potsdam, where they were both studying at the Konrad Wolf Film Academy, the beginnings of their collaboration were characterised by the end of the GDR, where Petra had grown up. TALES OF A RIVER, for example, tells of the effects of German reunification on the lives of the citizens of Petra's hometown of Dessau. "We had to redefine our world view, and film is an extraordinarily suitable tool for this," says Petra in an interview with film journalist Jan Pieter Ekker.

The Latasters carefully approach the fragility of life in NOT WITHOUT YOU, the portrait of Peter's parents, or while accompanying paediatricians in a premature baby ward in IF WE KNEW. In MISS KIETS CHILDREN and JEROEN, JEROEN, they tackle the big issue of integration – in the most empathetic and personal way imaginable.

Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster's work is characterised by a trusting relationship with their protagonists, a sensitive approach to them, a precise gaze through attentive camerawork and restrained editing. Their joint films take us right into the heart of life and one thing shines through in all their works: their consistently humanistic attitude.

Samay Claro and Daniel Sponsel



The films

The Netherlands 2007, Petra Lataster-Czisch, Peter Lataster, 75 min.

“The most important thing is that the child has to have a prospect of a good life.” IF WE KNEW gently explores this concept of a “good life” at the Groningen University neonatal intensive care unit. We experience how closely birth, life, pain and death are related to each other and what everyday life is like for the doctors who must make existential decisions on a daily basis and sometimes within minutes.


The Netherlands 2011, Petra Lataster-Czisch, Peter Lataster, 73 min.

Jeroen is 15, a lanky boy who doesn’t know what to do with his energy. Jeroen has autism and is a challenge for his carers and his mother. If you tell him what to do and what not to do, he does exactly the opposite. What will happen when he gets older? With their sensitive observation of Jeroen’s everyday life and his environment, the directing duo succeed in making a loving plea for life without ifs and buts.

The Netherlands 2016, Petra Lataster-Czisch, Peter Lataster, 115 min.

Miss Kiet works as a primary school teacher in a small Dutch village. She teaches an integration class, where traumatised refugee children attempt to learn a new language, understand western society and build a new life. A moving and sensitively observed film, always on the children’s eye level, that will go straight to your heart.


The Netherlands 2010, Petra Lataster-Czisch, Peter Lataster, 85 min.

A love story. He has difficulty moving around and is hard of hearing. She forgets everything and is reaching the end of her life. What do you do when everything seems futile and there is no stopping a person’s physical and mental decline? The Dutch artist couple Ger Lataster and Hermine van Hall’s approach is to carry on and lovingly share memories of the time they have spent together. Their son Peter dedicates this loving dual portrait to them.

The Netherlands 1994, Petra Lataster-Czisch, Peter Lataster, 85 min.

“I certainly wouldn’t have done anything else in my life otherwise.” Without passing judgement, this film snakes through post-reunification Dessau, showing Bauhaus buildings sitting alongside empty factories, and gives a voice to people who have lost everything and those who have almost “exploded” because they finally got a chance. A laconic homage to Dessau and its history.

The homage at the festival

The films of the homage will be presented as part of the 39th DOK.fest München in May 2024:

2 to 12 May at the Munich venues
6 to 20 May @home


Also as part of the homage, a masterclass with Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster will be held on Sunday 5 May. In conversation with the two filmmakers, Rebecca Zehr investigates their work. The masterclass will be held in German.