Art Film by Assaf Gruber

D 2021 | 47 min | ProRes 422 | stereo | German / Italian / English with English subtitles

with Anne Ratte-Polle, Michele Andrei and Sabine Wackernagel

German Premiere: HKW The Whole Life Congress
World Premiere: CCA Tel Aviv

Director of Photography: Frank Meyer
Gaffer: Theo Lustig
Sound Engineer: Frank Bubenzer
Sound Design & Mix: Jochen Jezussek
Production & Costume Design: Sara Wendt
Hair & Make-Up: Rama Al Rached
Editors: Assaf Gruber, Dane Komljen
1st Assistant Director: Moriya Matityahu

Produced by Assaf Gruber & Caroline Kirberg
Tuned by Kirberg Motors

Co-produced and funded by Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Krieg Hasselt Belgium, the Botin Foundation Santander Spain, CCA Tel Aviv, and Outset Contemporary Art Fund


Transient Witness simultaneously merges and obscures the intimate from the public in a story where the actions of collecting and stealing, donating and losing immerse and construct a complex story navigating between actual facts about the baroque and the avant-garde; art and its politics.

The film narrates a fictional story of the transfer of the objects from the private house of the avant-garde collector Egidio Marzona in Berlin to their new domicile – the Japanisches Palais, a Rococo building part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (the national art collection of the State of Saxony) – through the eyes of three main characters: Christina, the manager of the collection; Maurizio, the art mover who comes to collect the works; and Präsens the dog; the most important commodity of the collector.

Fiction meets reality as the film takes place on the 25th of November, 2019. That day, priceless stones, with great cultural value, were stolen from the very same SKD in one of the biggest art heists in history, causing a national outrage in Germany.

photos Frank Meyer © Assaf Gruber 2021