Apr 13, 2011

Interview with Manfred O. Jelinski

Nekromantik II: Return of the Loving Dead (C) Jörg Buttgereit

Manfred O. Jelinski is best known in the horror cinema world for his collaborations with German auteur director Jörg Buttgereit. Jelinski was the producer behind Nekromantik, Der Todesking, Nekromantik II: Return of the Loving Dead, and Schramm. Jelinski also worked as a cinematographer, editor, and even as an actor during his collaborations with Buttgereit. Soiled Sinema is very pleased to bring you this interview with Manfred O. Jelinski.

SS: How did your filmmaking partnership/collaboration come about with Jörg Buttgereit? Did you know Buttgereit before you first collaborated with him on the original Nekromantik film?

MJ:  Uwe Bohrer and I had a company for Film Service since the late seventies. We designed a way of filmmaking on a nearly no budget basis. After we had everything under control, we looked out for a potential director. Jörg Buttgereit was a customer who needed film copies from us. I noticed he had potential and I liked his films, so I asked him to make a film. It turned out very well.

(C) Jörg Buttgereit

SS: What is your favorite film that you worked with Buttgereit on? Why that particular film?

MJ: I like Schramm very much. Everything came easy. Watch the making of Schramm. We had developed a deep understanding of filmmaking by the time we made Schramm. Most problems we had were with Nekromantik: At the set, with the editing, with every part. But it was fun in the end to see it all come together. Actually, none of the films were a problem. Each one gave me new inspiration. Each one was special.

SS: Nekromantik II was the first film seized in Germany since the Nazi era. What kind of trouble did you get into with Nekromantik II? Is the film still banned in Germany today?

MJ: We were accused, but won in the end. So it was never really banned but it always sounds fine for advertisement. But we had to work about a year to make the film... illegally. It's difficult to explain, needs more space. We had spread the material, negatives, prints among six of our friends, a hidden flat etc. Man, what a time!

  (C) Jörg Buttgereit

SS: Personally, the films you created with Buttgereit remind me of German expressionist films due to their dark, yet powerful expressive aesthetic. Are you a fan of German expressionist films from directors to F.W. Murnau, Fritz Lang, Robert Wiene, etc.?

MJ: No. Not really. I like Murnau and Lang as heroes of their time and expression. But I always tried not to copy someone's style.

 SS: Are there any horror films from the so called "German New Wave" movement that inspired you and/or that your liked? For example, did Lommel's "The Tenderness of Wolves" (which was a loose remake of Fritz Lang's "M") inspire you?

MJ: No. Same reason as above. I avoided seeing too many films. They leave to big of an impression on the brain. To admire someone doesn't mean to copy him. Each film needs its own unique design.

(C) Manfred O. Jelinski

SS: Besides producing films, you have also directed a couple films. Can you tell us about the short "mein Schones Husum" and the documentary "So war das S.O.36?" Are these films currently available with English subtitles?

MJ: No. Husum is a short which shows a local city in an unconventional light. SO36 is about German Punk Music, stuff that no one would be interested in seeing outside of Germany.

SS: You were the cinematographer behind the beautifully shot films Der Todesking, Nekromantik II, and Schramm. Did any particular cinematographers inspire your style of filmmaking?

MJ: Not really. I tried to avoid it. I love Antonioni, Kubrick and Polanski (and Russ Meyer). But for Low budget films you need different concepts. You have different materials of stock, less light, people to handle and so on. You cannot stylize low-budget films in a way similar to Hollywood. 

(C) Jörg Buttgereit

SS: Are there any particular German filmmakers from the past that your admire? Aside from German filmmakers, do you have an other favorite filmmakers (from around the world)?

MJ: Well, I don't know. If I really grab inside my mind, I would say, I admire Wenzel Storch. He is outstanding and lovingly crazy.

SS: Would you like to create a third Nekromantik film with Buttgereit? Also, do you hope to work with Buttgereit on new films in the future?

MJ: Well, we talked about. All the actors and other people that have survived would love it. In fact, that is not the point which drives a decision. We are not sure if it will work ... in many ways. On the other hand, I would not be able to split from my family for long because I have two very little children. (But "Yes!", said my wife.)

(C) Jörg Buttgereit

SS: I noticed that you sell Spanish director Nacho Cerda's 1994 film "Aftermath" on your site "Jelinski & Buttgereit." Are you a fan of "Aftermath?" Are you friends with Cerda?

MJ: We shot the interview with Jörg at my house in North Frisia. Nacho is a nice guy, really. We had fun.

SS: Are there any contemporary German horror films/film directors that you can recommend?

MJ: No. Ask Jörg, he is more into that. I don`t like "horror", it has limited dimensions.

Nekromantik (C) Jörg Buttgereit

SS: Do you have any upcoming film projects in the works?

MJ: I'm writing books now. Very different stuff. Remote Viewing and Quantum physics. Scientific stuff and novels. As for my novels, people say you can read them like films. Whatever that means. 

For more info on Jelinski and Buttgereit, check out: Jelinski & Buttgereit 


Phantom of Pulp said...

A humble fellow. I like him.

The Diary of a Milkman said...

"I don`t like "horror", it has limited dimensions."

Hahaaa...yeah, well 'horror' likes you, Deepak Jr.