Feb 20, 2014

Postcard to Daddy

With the undeniably bad influence of Berlin-based kraut queer queen agitator Rosa von Praunheim (A Virus Knows no Morals, I Am My Own Woman) as his support, novice filmmaker Michael Stock, who in my humble opinion had what it takes to help kickstart the rebirth of a truly uncompromising German cinema free of Hollywood influences, directed the celluloid cocksucking-urban-nightmare-to-end-all-cocksucking-urban-nightmares, Prinz in Hölleland (1993) aka Prince in Hell, at the ripe age of 26 and then rather unfortunately disappeared just as abruptly has he had once appeared. A fiercely faggoty punk neo-fairy-tale set in melancholy post-Cold War Berlin that is part fantasy-like and part cinéma vérité-like in aesthetic yet decidedly deranging and debasing all around, Prince in Hell follows three junky queer squatters (with Stock playing one of them) of the exceedingly self-destructive and needlessly nihilistic sort as they race towards subconsciously killing themselves in a cinematic climax that, for better or worse, is one of the most singularly shocking endings in all of cinema history. While Stock went on to play a goofy German hustler named ‘Uhrs’ in American auteur Todd Verow’s sodomite serial killer flick Frisk (1995) and would direct a short segment for the Teutonic omnibus film Fucking Different (2005), his planned second feature—an assumedly dark autobiographical work entitled Aussöhnung aka Reconciliation about a young man who attempts to come to terms with the fact that his own father molested him—never went past the post-production stage as the German television channel that planned to fund the film cancelled the project after two years of being in limbo due to its considerably controversial material (as Stock said himself regarding the decision, “the editor-in-chief finally decided that the process of reconciliation in the script to "Aussöhnung" (Reconciliation) was even more unsavoury than the rape itself, and the project died.”). Instead, Stock decided to direct a ‘family’ documentary on the same highly personal subject about how he was routinely molested by his father for about 8 years of his tragic life. Quite ironically, while his mentor Rosa von Praunheim who was unquestionably a born pervert who attempted to seduce his own father (!) as a wee bratwurst as he confessed to Todd Verow in an episode of the Arte show Into the Night with… (2002-current), Stock was sinisterly seduced by his sick father as depicted in the filmmaker’s surprisingly hopeful yet nonetheless stomach-churning documentary Postcard to Daddy (2010). Contracting HIV and Hepatitis C during his early twenties and more recently suffering a couple of debilitating strokes, the Michael Stock of Postcard to Daddy looks like a morbidly depressed zombie compared to the virile vice-saluting junk-addled street punk of Prince in Hell yet somewhat paradoxically he seems quite happy and positive in the documentary in the end, as if he has finally come to terms with the damage his despicable daddy has done. 

 It all started when Michael Stock’s mother Margret Bartholomé met a swarthy fellow named Roland Stock who she found herself being rather attracted due to what she perceived as his foreign-like ‘South American’ looks. When Margret got pregnant, she and Roland got married, which ultimately sired three children: Michael Stock and his older brother Christian and sister Anja Stock-Hüttl. Margret loved her husband’s adventurous and hedonistic character, but Roland was also a hopeless dipsomaniac and for whatever reason he began molesting his prepubescent son Michael. When Michael revealed to his mother Margret—a humanist involved in various social and political causes, including an Amnesty International group—at the age of 19 that his father routinely molested him for about 8 years, it totally destroyed the entire family, with everyone aside from eldest son Christian completely cutting off ties with the incestuous pedophile patriarch. Roland senior never molested any of his other children, which might partially have to do with the fact that, for instance, his daughter Anja actively avoided him, “because he was so repulsive physically, I didn’t want any contact with him. I didn’t want to be close to him. Just his bad odor! When you drink in the evening, you smell the next day. And I felt repulsed. I really wanted to keep as much distance as possible.” After nearly 8 years of being molested, it took Michael another decade “to deal with it or simply to survive,” which he partly achieved by making his story public on German television and even attempting to direct a feature film on the unsavory subject. 

 Considerably sexually warped due to his experiences, Michael recalls how he fell in love at age 12 with a neighbor girl and when he confided in his father about his feelings, the debauched daddy used it as a perverse pretense to fingers his anus so as to ostensibly demonstrate to his son how to pleasure a girl’s clitoris. Naturally, Michael grew up to develop of sick and twisted sense of sexuality and actively sought predatory victimizers for sexual partners, but eventually found his first real boyfriend around the time he directed Prince in Hell and learned to enjoy carnal pleasures in a more reciprocal way. Regarding his self-destructive sexual behavior, Michael confesses, “I was very promiscuous and had no self-respect. As a consequence, I was infected with HIV in my early twenties; and later with Hepatitis C, too. Of course I knew about the consequences of unsafe sex. But I felt that possible death through AIDS would be the ultimate jewel in my drama queen crown. Drowning in self-pity I would have loved to blame it all on my father. But it is not his fault. I have to bare the consequences of my actions and simply have to live with them. And yes, I wonder how my father lives with the consequences of what he did.” Eventually, Michael met his second partner, a French architect who wanted to be a filmmaker named Rémi Kaltenbach, but his beau also suffered from ‘daddy issues’, albeit of a less unhinged variety, and he ultimately developed a psychosis that turned him to religion and self-loathing. Convinced he would never be able to reconcile with his father, Rémi killed himself. At the time, Michael had reconciled with his father, but when degenerate daddy made an insensitive remark regarding Rémi’s suicide, the sick father-son ‘bond’ was once again severed. Ultimately, Michael decided to dedicate Postcard to Daddy to Rémi. 

 Originally intended to be titled “Mommy’s Boys” and centered around mother-son relationships, Postcard to Daddy spends a good portion of its time focusing on Stock’s mother, who later became a sex abuse counselor after finding out her husband molested her son. After Michael suffered a stroke, his mother Margret decided to take him on a vacation (or what the director calls a “recuperation trip”) to Thailand where the two discuss the filmmaker’s abuse at the hand of his fucked father. As Michael Stock wrote in a ‘Director’s Statement’ for Postcard to Daddy regarding the trip, “Unlike my mother, my father has contributed nothing to the process of coming to terms with this trauma. My mother on the other hand, since the day I confided in her at the age of 19, has played a key role in working through this family drama, so it made sense that our relationship would be the focus during this trip.” Not merely a cute and catchy sentimentalist title, Postcard to Daddy concludes with a brief interview with Michael's pernicious son-sodomizing monster father Roland Stock, who the filmmaker screens a rough cut of the documentary. While the viewer does not get to see Roland’s reaction to the doc, that is besides the point as it was made for the filmmaker’s own personal therapy and not as a means to denigrate the castration-worthy kiddy fucker. 

Undoubtedly, Postcard to Daddy is one of the most unflatteringly confessional documentaries ever made as demonstrated by the fact that director Michael Stock admits, among other things, that at one point during his nightmarish childhood he began seducing his father (!), thus demonstrating how debased his mind had become. One of the reasons that the German TV channel refused Stock’s initial script for his never-made second feature Aussöhnung was because they felt it would demonstrate there was a link between homosexuality and child molestation. Of course, after watching Postcard to Daddy, the viewer cannot deny that it is quite obvious that Stock’s self-destructive fagdom is a direct result of being molested, hence why he would seek victimizers as partners and got off to being sexually degraded by strangers and whatnot. Coming close to death and working the unflattering occupation of a dishwasher as a middle-aged man, Stock had his life ruined before he even had a serious chance in life by the very same man who should have been his greatest protector and the consequences of these truly devilish deeds weigh oppressively throughout Postcard to Daddy. In its innate essence, the documentary is a daunting deconstruction of Prince in Hell as it solves the source of the film’s seemingly maleficent mystique and startlingly morally dubious and even macabre character. Indeed, due the film’s allusions to child molestation and rape flashback scenes, I initially assumed that Prince in Hell might have been written/directed by a victim of sex abuse, but I would have never seriously considered that an authentic victim of father-son incest in fact directed it. Once a ‘punk’ in more than one sense of the word with an unrivaled tenacity and a knack for post-industrial aesthetic terrorism as demonstrated by his acting and directing of Prince in Hell, Stock sadly seems like a prematurely aged old timer/terminal twink in Postcard to Daddy who needed to make just one more film before leaving this earth. Indeed, considering his filmmaking career never took off as it should have, Postcard to Daddy ultimately acts as the final word and micro-autobiography on the troubled life and wasted talent of Herr Michael Stock. 

-Ty E

1 comment:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Faggots are so horrifying, i wish they could all somehow be completely eradicated from the planet.