Review: After Two Hours, Ten Minutes Had Passed (2019), by Steffen Goldkamp

Every day is the same in the juvenile detention center Hahnöfersand situated on the Elbe river island in Lower Saxony. The time drags so painfully slow that it really feels like ten minutes in this institution last at least two hours. The inmates follow their dull daily routines of sleeping, eating, swiping floors and waiting again for the night to fall, bored, lethargic, powerless. There are no surprises and no particularly exciting things to do. In this sinister looking building with it’s 1950’s-style tiles and chipped furniture, teenagers are seizing for little tricks to crunch time. One of them has a secret stash of hash, the other is trying to find inspiration in a hobby room, the third is given a specially designed haircut. Sunken into their own thoughts, the young men are pondering about the future outside of the detention walls slumbered in their beds or while picking food from large plastic bowls.

Leaning on his own tradition of “exploring the specific realities of particular spaces”*, Steffen Goldkamp shows the life inside Hahnöfersand in his fourth short After Two Hours, Ten Minutes Had Passed by keeping the young men almost faceless – they either hide their eyes behind baseball caps or are filmed with their backs turned to the camera. It’s the position of body in the space that becomes crucial for the film, the cramp, the pacing, the restless sleep. Even the occasional telephone call is filmed from behind forming a defensive membrane between the person and the voice. The slight movement of curtains reminds of the world outside in which time moves much faster, but right in front of the detention walls, the football fields gape with emptiness.

It’s interesting that the film title appears halfway through the film in the moment when the lens sinks even lower showing the torsos only, some bare, some clad in T-shirts. Tom Otte paints their lives in blue tones colds as the atmosphere they are surrounded by and tuned down even more by the sound of Beethoven’s String Quartet N° 9 in C Major Op. 59 N°3, ‘Rassumovsky’ II Andante co moto quasi vivace, performed by Endellion String Quartet.

After Two Hours, Ten Minutes Had Passed was screened at the Venice International Film Festival, in the Orizzonti Short Competition.


Directed/ written by: Steffen Goldkamp
Production: Spengemann Eichberg Goldkamp Hans
Running Time: 19′
Language: German
Country: Germany
Cast: Anonimo, Karsten Krause, Gaso Abdulrahman
Director of Photography: Tom Otte
Editor: Steffen Goldkamp, Jelena Maksimović
Sound: Karsten Krause, Jakob Spengemann, Stephen Konken
Visual Effects: Wassili Franko