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Do Engines Have a Soul? (Hat der Motor eine Seele?)

Do Engines Have a Soul?
Scene from "Do Engines Have a Soul?" (photo © Hans Albrecht Lusznat)

In 1908, the greatest event ever regarding motorsport took place. A car race around the world, from New York to Paris. All across the USA, Asia, Siberia, and Europe. Hans Koeppen from Berlin was one of the six rivals that took to the 20,000 kilometer long route.

100 years later, the filmmaker Wolfgang Ettlich and his team followed the racers' 'car traces' for more than two months. On the basis of historical records, they traveled on the same route as these car pioneers and betook a visual journey through time all around the globe. They looked at the world using the car racers' historical notes and experienced the culture and living with the upcoming technology of the early 20th century from the racers' point of view. Along the way, the team discovered how differently the dream of a mobilized society developed and how significantly the automobile shaped our world in the last century.

Wolfgang Ettlich was born in Berlin in 1947 and studied Political Science and Communications in Munich, followed by work as a freelance documentary filmmaker for the Bavarian Broadcasting Company. He founded his own production company in 1985 with a special interest and emphasis on long-term projects. A selection of his films includes: Irgendwie Power machen (1987), Ausgerechnet Bananen - Ein deutsch-deutsches Wirtschaftswunder (1991), Schoener als Fliegen - Geschichten aus dem Erdinger Moos (1992), Die Schuetzes-Helden zwischen Bananen und Kohl (1994), Irgendwie Power machen - 15 Jahre aus dem Leben des Oliver N. (1994), Kapitalismus macht Spass - Berlin Friedrichstrasse (1996), Yesterday Is Today (Gestern ist heute, 1996), Soenke Wortmann (1996), We\'ll Be Keeping On (Wir machen weiter, 1999), Venice - Like a Dream (Venedig - Als haetten wir getraeumt, 2000), Im Osten geht die Sonne auf (2001), Der Fussballtempel (2005), and Do Engines Have a Soul? (Hat der Motor eine Seele?, 2008, in co-direction with Andreas Dirr).

Andreas Dirr was born in 1976 and studied Media Sciences, History and Psychology. Active as a freelance writer and director, a selection of his films includes: the documentaries Der Tod des Pero Radakovic (2001), Von Wladiwostok nach Moskau - In einem Zug durch Russland (2005), Black Forest Tuareq (2006), Fencing - Fechten (2006), Die Weltraumspione (2007), Operation Skorpion - Eine Frau im Visier des KGB (2008), and Hat der Motor eine Seele?, 2008, in co-direction with Wolfgang Ettlich).
Genre Adventure, History, Road Movie
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2008
Directors Wolfgang Ettlich, Andreas Dirr
Screenplay Andreas Dirr
Cinematography Hans-Albrecht Lusznat
Julia Furch
Dieter Schleip
Producer Wolfgang Ettlich
Production Company MGS Filmproduktion/Munich, in cooperation with Bayerischer Rundfunk, ARTE, RBB
Length 87 min
Format color, b&w
Original Version
 English, Russian, Chinese, German
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Mono
With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern

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Wolfgang Ettlich
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80797 Munich/Germany
phone +49-89-1 23 64 65
fax +49-89-1 23 64 99