Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Talks about films


                The spectator in Babylon, Berlin                @HF 21.1.2016


If anything goes with film, then Charlie Chaplin and Bustor Keaton. But the first real film star when still a boy in Munich 1952-57 and looking at the silver screen with wide open eyes was Romy Schneider.

Later followed the famous film made for both children and adults was called "Krieg der Knoepfe" ('war of buttons'). That film did more than just set the right tone. Given what were the real experience in the streets of Munich at that time, the question popped up in the mind but how to avoid unnecessary conflicts? Violence existed at school with gangs following the command of a leader I called 'Stalin' chased me down the street. If they would have caught me, I would have been beaten up, but I ran faster than them.

How are these gangs created? We experienced then even pitched battles between different gangs waging from street to street. Sometimes when carneval time would approach, these gangs would switch battle gear and become instead Indians and Cowboys. It meant all the Western films coming from America to Europa had an impact. Smoking gun! Later, when in Berlin, I came upon those who had been fascinated by Karl May and who followed his projections upon Indians in the Wild West. That was what is called in German "die Kehrtwende": a kind of turn around.

When living in London with three film makers 1969-70, other experiences with film were made. We discussed Kenneth Loach whose "Cathy come home" meant dealing directly thereafter with the plight of the homeless. A NGO was created to help the needy. The same applies to his film 'Kes'. It depicts the fate of those left stranded in coal mining towns even after the pits have closed down.

An immediate impact had moreover Kenneth Russels film "Women in Love". It was based on the novel by Lawrence who connects in that way to the Richthofen sisters and leaves one wondering what can be written if not in snow, then in cold souls? That was the drama between British and German notions of the non Romantics after Second World War.

The film of Thomas Mann's 'Death in Venice' highlights what Michel Foucault has described in his Phenomenology of Sexuality why men desire the boy as incarnation of the highest aesthetical elevation! One can think about this motive when reading that the scandal about child abuse has confronted the Catholic Church world wide.

No one knows how much money is being spend on film as special entertainment, but if Woody Allan has his way, he shall not do movies anymore in New York, but in London and in Europe. He has besides Mike Jagger his own crazy world.

Listening every day to the cultural news on the radio and then hear the recommendations but equally criticisms of films being shown, it becomes clear that not everyone can keep up with the latest polling or know how to rate movies.

The Greeks were fond and amused by "A Greek fat wedding", but when the film "Soul Kitchen" was released they found the European take on their characteristics more to their liking. In the film "Soul Kitchen" Greeks are shown even when abroad they have not given up their unusual solidarity and compassion for the other. That may mean complicated relationships. but they end up all the same in some good and simple notion of what is at stake in life. If it is not to keep the brother out of jail, then the sister free from a possible disasterous marriage.

When walking in Berlin across Savignysquare one can remember the key slogan in "Carbarett" as being "money, money...makes the world go round". The German Expressionists have always attempted to expose this lie covering up life in urban centres.

In terms of deficits hauting down Greece and other European countries, it is still important to know where Hollywood film producers tend to go, namely to places where they can shoot their films as they want and not be forced to pay fringe benefits. This is the case when respective states demand it for allowing that films are shot at special locations. 

The American writer George Crane is still waiting for the film to be produced on the basis of his novel "Bones of the Master." In discussions are various options for financing the film.

How film production shall interrelate with the internet and the upcoming surge of videos, clearly youtube has an impact. If anything the benefit of the doubt shall be on the side of technological development making productions seem easier even if it still matters what contents are used to tell the story. Without such a story, it is definitely not a Hollywood based film.

Critical is when film is used for purpose of propaganda. Goeppels showed the way when bringing with AFGA the first film in colour in 1940, and it seems odd when Wim Wenders advocates that if the European Union wishes to sell more effectively itself as a likeable product to the citizes, then more use should be made of the medium 'film'.

Films are experienced on all kinds of festivals, including CANNES or the Berliner Biennale, but also what was shown during the Hellas Film Festival held in Babylon, Berlin from 21 to 24 January 2016.

Hatto Fischer

Berlin 25.1.2016


^ Top

« Film | Painting between the walls - a documentary by Alexandra Zanne »