Private Project

Better Science

Better Science is a short experimental documentary investigating the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of statues from a park just meters away from the global headquarters of chemical corporation Bayer in Leverkusen, Germany. The sculptures had been commissioned in the 1930s to Fritz Klimsch, a German sculptor included in Goebbels’s "Gottbegnadete" list of crucial artists to Nazi culture. Shot over three years with the background of Bayer’s 2018 acquisition of Monsanto, the film sheds new light on the relationship between the German agrochemical giant and its Nazi past as the chemical conglomerate IG Farben. Featuring dialogues with activists, a bomb disposal expert and Bayer's CEO, Better Science is a poetic take on the company's current massive expansion of its global agricultural and pharmaceutical power.

  • Walter Solon
  • Jorge Loureiro
  • Walter Solon
  • Jorge Loureiro
  • Walter Solon
  • Jorge Loureiro
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 30, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    German, Portuguese
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Academy of Media Arts Cologne
  • 38. Kasseler Dokfest
    November 19, 2021
    German Premiere
    Nominated for the Golden Key Award
Director Biography - Walter Solon, Jorge Loureiro

Jorge Loureiro is a Brazilian-born artist working across visual arts and documentary. He is currently concluding his studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Jorge’s films and artworks have been shown at ZKM Karlsruhe, Goethe Institute Beijing, Artsonje Center Seoul, the Modern Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro (MAM RIO), the Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo (MIS SP), among other cultural institutions and cinematheques.

2021 BETTER SCIENCE (Germany/Brazil, Documentary, 22 min)
2015 RUBY (Uruguay/Brazil, Fiction, 17 min)

Walter Solon: Working across film, literature, performance, music and visual arts, Walter Solon studied Social Sciences at the University of São Paulo, with exchange studies at Sciences Po Paris and the University of Cologne. He is currently concluding an MFA at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, with an exchange period at Art Center College of Design, in California. His docufictional films, narrative installations and immersive performances have been shown at Art Sonje Center, South Korea; Goethe Institut Beijing, China; Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany; Videonale.parcours, Bonn; the Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne; Patrick Ebensperger Gallery, Berlin; and the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Greece.

2021 BETTER SCIENCE (Germany/Brazil, Documentary, 28 min)
2021 RUSOLO VENTURES (India, Experimental, 39 min)
2019 MOTHER OF ALL FICTIONS (US/Germany, Experimental, 29 min)
2017 ETHICS OF SURVIVAL (Brazil/Germany, Documentary/Experimental, 29 min)
2017 LAYOVER ISLAND (Portugal/Poland/Germany, Experimental, 13 min)
2017 HIRE ME (USA, Experimental, 10 min)
2016 DETACHMENT MISSION (Portugal/Germany, Experimental, 6 min)
2016 FREE TEKNO (Italy/Germany, Experimental, 6 min)
2016 ERSTER SCHRITT/FIRST STEP (France/Germany, Documentary, 55 min)
2015 DEMOLIDORA SOLON (Brazil/Palestine/Germany, Experimental, 13 min)
2014 INFERNO: THE MAKING OF (Brazil, Documentary, 25 min)
2013 WE LIVE ON TREETOPS! (Brazil, Experimental, 3 min)

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

In 2017, we were location scouting for a film about Bayer at Carl-Duisberg- Park, a lush green park behind the company’s headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany. While shooting an empty fountain, an older lady approached us and revealed the previous existence of statues that had been stolen from the park. The old lady had worked for Bayer’s subsidiary AGFA for decades, and had been trained as an expert of micropaleontology. The mystery went on further, as some of the statues had not been stolen but rather removed by the company itself. The park, which hosts the mausoleum of former Bayer CEO Carl Duisberg, has an ambiguous relationship to public and private space, as shooting there is not always allowed, and sometimes Bayer security will stop film crews and ask for permits. Carl Duisberg had been responsible for Bayer’s 1920s merger with its rivals in Germany’s chemical sector, forming the conglomerate IG Farben, which was the largest chemical company of its time and would participate in the Holocaust by producing Zyklon B, the gas used in the gas chambers, as well as operate slave labor camps in Auschwitz.
In our film, we follow traces of Bayer’s history that are still accessible in contemporary Germany: newspaper articles, demonstration by activists, statements by Bayer’s CEO at the annual shareholders meeting, interviews with university employees at former IG Farben headquarters and even a bomb disposal expert, who happened to be defusing a World War 2 bomb at the day of our shoot. As these ghosts of Germany’s totalitarian past emerge to the surface, they also remind us that they have never left. Connecting present, past and future, our film aims to question the unchecked power given to individual companies in our globalized times.