Jan 19, 2013
If one needs a great example of the United States’ decisively devastating and detrimental effects on German culture since the conclusion of the Second World War, look no further than weirdo auteur Wenzel Storch’s film Summer of Love (1992) aka Sommer der Liebe – the second psychedelic cinematic chapter in the filmmaker’s so-called “Jürgen Höhne Trilogy” – as no other film expresses so vividly and violently the horrifying homogenizing effects of America's hippie trash pseudo-kultur on the ill-fated Fatherland. To be fair, the whole ‘hippie’ aesthetic and lifestyle started in Deutschland during the early 20th century via longhaired, back-to-nature völkisch artist-messiahs like Aryan “apostle of nature” artiste Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach and his protégé Fidus (born Hugo Reinhold Karl Johann Höppener) who both promoted "Lebensreform" (life-reform), Neo-Paganism, sun-worship, nudism, organic foods, vegetarianism, homeopathic medicines, and unconventional gender roles, among other things, which were later imported to sunny California via German immigrants, hence the old stereotype of the tall, tan, and blond surfer dude cruising waves on the beach, but I doubt Teuton auteur Wenzel Storch knows this, or at least forgot it due to too many bad trips with Aryan Alice to Acidland. Of course, Storch is no Hans Bitterman as indicated by the line, “if you hate the krauts, eat Brussels sprouts” in his psychotic cinematic tribute to the black sun Summer of Love; a film that can probably be best described as an arthouse film for 5th grade amphetamine addicts and acid freaks and the sort of sardonic anarcho-mystical film that seems like it was directed by the ‘too cool for school’ bastard son of fellow anti-Catholic auteur Herbert Achternbusch. A heretical hodgepodge of humiliatingly horrendous hippie cultural clichés and random references to mainstream German culture and politics, Summer of Love is like dog days diarrhea straight out of Wenzel Storch’s auteur asshole, which is exactly what I needed to see after enduring some pretentious French puffery piece that I would rather not name just moments before I stepped into the less than gentle German filmmaker's wacked-out Super 8 wonderland. As the sort of fucked up farce of a film that I always hoped Herschell Gordon Lewis’ films would be, but proved to without merit, even where maniacal murder is concerned, Summer of Love is an overdose of stupid subversive sinema with Blood Feast (1963) style bodily dismemberment to boot, but all the more bloody and berserk. If you ever thought John Lennon’s assassination and Jimmi and Janis’ overdoses are as funny as I do, Summer of Love is surely the film for you.
Aryan acid freaks in bold blackface, psychedelic portraits of the pope, middle-aged hippies on heroin, sauerkraut rocking out (literal ‘Krautrock’), and bugs buggering on flowers are just a couple of the happening things that go on in Summer of Love, a film set during “the year 1972 earth time.” As described in the introduction to the film, “on our small blue planet (note: Storch’s earth is yellow, orange, and shit green) a group of young modern people is penetrating new dimensions of the mind. They were looking for the key to a better world and opened the door to a SUMMER OF LOVE,” but unfortunately, at least for p.c. poofs, Wenzel Storch’s peace is polluted with violent explosions, debilitating drug addiction, rabid racism and general human depravity. Centering on the acid-addled activities of fat freeloading flower child of flatulence Oleander (Jürgen Höhne) – a middle-aged burnout beatnik who prefers heroin to hotdogs and air guitar to the real thing – Summer of Love features a certain frisky foreboding love in the air, but where, I do not know. Like in certain hunter-gatherer tribes in Sub-Saharan Africa where the men shake one another’s penises when greeting one another, the free-thinking chicks of Storch’s unhinged hippie flick grab one another’s meaty tits in a salacious display of solidarity. In Storch's bodacious beatnik realm, everything is possible, even hip racial slurs and spiritual sexual debasement of the most self-deprecating sort.
Oafish virtual-human-lawn-gnome Oleander is literally an electrifying individual who gives naïve nuns a special tingle when shaking their horribly holy hands, thus he figures the best way to help these little ladies with their broken stove is by merely sitting on it, thereupon drenching his sweet seat with his own sacrificial sweat. The nuns assume he is a, “funny guy…the sort who gets up at 10 at night when other people are going to bed,” but little do they realize that Oleander likes to rock-out with his cock-out in the daytime with young ladies while sporting a radically ridiculous red wig. Needless to say, in no time, Oleander has the women of the church dancing to the same beat of psychedelic sexual subversion as he does. After offering and opening bottles of beer for the nuns (who typically drink holy water), Oleander is complimented for his bottle-busting strength, which he replies is the result of strength-building stamp collecting. After setting the nuns’ Christmas tree on fire on Christmas Eve and secretly redecorating their monastery – the radical “results of weeklong secret handiwork” – the pleasantly plump perv of psychedelic psycho-babble belches the putrid stench of holy Xmas cookies and a groovy party begins where everyone is invited, thereupon resulting in a concert featuring cardboard cut-out air guitar. Without the nuns’ permission, Big O de-christianizes the now-unholy place “Rock-Monastery” where it is now inhabited by hippie heretics who use it as a hip hobo commune/head-shop. Naturally, Oleander, a hypnotic hippie holy-man of the messianic manic maniac sort, continues to spread his groovy guru gluttony all around the Teutonic countryside after turning the nuns into sexually promiscuous hippie gals worthy of joining the Manson family. The rather rotund renegade also runs into four happening hippie chicks named Trixi, Babsi, Trulli and Otti, last names being “Meier, Muller, Schulze, Schmidt swimming in a pool of shit,” and brings them to a Teutonic minstrel show where they request that the lone Negro play a cover of “Paint it Black.” Bored, Oleander goes to another monastery where he meets Sister Jasmin, who has been, “waiting for him to redeem her for 2000 years,” so naturally the “strange saint” in faggy hippie sheep’s clothing reams and redeems her. Oleander tells Jasmin about his first true love Sandra, who he describes as “beautifully ugly” and later hedgehogs ride around in a neon jeep. Oleander’s ‘trip’ gets madder and badder and concludes in a mental maze of madness that includes mutilation, murder, and, finally, miscegenation.
It should not be a surprise to anyone that has seen Summer of Love or any of the decidedly deranged director’s other films that Wenzel Storch was literally tripping when he wrote the script. Although I do not doubt that Storch is down with ‘drop-out’ degeneracy and the soulless sexual revolution that came with it, Summer of Love is just as much a mockery of hippie culture as it is of Catholicism and mainstream kraut kultur. A vehement vision of one virulent lapsed Kraftwerk fan's most frenzied fantasies in Super 8 celluloid form, Summer of Love seems like a work more sowed in love of hate than love of life, but one can see that Storch surely had fun when he directed this piece of sordid and surreal spirited scorched earth cinema. Although not his celluloid magnum opus – an honor that goes to his final chapter in the Jürgen Höhne Trilogy A Journey Into Bliss (2004) aka Die Reise ins Glück – Storch’s Summer of Love is not far behind as a work as wacky and wild as the most scatological of Schlingensief films, but set on a totally different planet of playful perversity and putridity. Described by Rolling Stone magazine as “Germany's answer to John Wayne and Louis des Funès rolled into one. One can safely describe him as the master of ‘extreme acting’,” jolly Jürgen Höhne is just as much of an innate ingredient of Summer of Love as Storch’s subversive direction as a good humored prophet of the hippie cinematic apocalypse. An idiotically idiosyncratic work of avant-garde cinema, Summer of Love is an indisputable masterpiece of kaleidoscopic and terribly steaming trash sinema, as well as an eccentric epic of bittersweet cinematic excrement.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 10:21 PM
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