Apr 27, 2014
As a man who has spent virtually his entire filmmaking career demonically prodding and probing the subjects of his films, especially his oftentimes depraved documentaries, Rosa von Praunheim (I Am My Own Woman, Neurosia: 50 Years of Perversity) has been long overdue for the same treatment for some time and in the documentary Rosakinder (2012) aka Rosa’s Children aka Pink Children, not one, but five very different filmmakers do just that. Indeed, directed by five of von Praunheim’s former students from the Film & Television Academy (HFF) in Potsdam, the document presents a rare vulnerable and sentimental von Praunheim who becomes an object of love, hate, and ridicule. Made in tribute to the sod senior citizen’s 70th anniversary, Rosakinder, which was commissioned by WDR and ARTE, is an experimental film of sorts in that each of the five directors (Chris Kraus, Axel Ranisch, Robert Thalheim, Tom Tykwer, and Julia von Heinz) involved directed a short which appears in the documentary regarding their typically troubled relationships with Herr von Praunheim. Indeed, believe it or not, the Hollywoodized MTV-addled hack who directed Run Lola Run (2008), Tom Tykwer, regards von Praunheim as his greatest mentor, even if his films have about as much in common with his ex-professor’s as the blockbuster celluloid bile of Michael Bay have to do with the works of Ingmar Bergman. As one learns while watching Rosakinder, von Praunheim taught his students to, among other things, hate their fathers, make serious gay films even if they are heterosexual and, most importantly, to make honest and passionate films yet, as each filmmaker’s respective short demonstrates, the pink kraut queen’s influence did not exactly have a positive influence on his mostly heterosexual and hopelessly normal pupils. While watching the documentary, you don’t learn that von Praunheim is the loveable old fag next door, but a seasoned master of dealing out misery and ridicule to his friends and pupils alike. Of course, as a man who openly admits he was quite relieved when nemesis Rainer Werner Fassbinder tragically dropped dead, von Praunheim does not pretend to play nice in the doc, but he does seem to be a bit confused and out of his element as a flaming old fairy surrounded by much younger heterosexuals. Indeed, as Deutschland’s number #1 queer agitator who has quite arguably pissed off more people than any other German filmmaker in history (including Veit Harlan!), it almost seems silly that a group of mostly heterosexual bourgeois filmmakers are paying tribute to him, as if the mensch who directed It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives (1971) aka Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt has somehow become respectable and is not the same man who filmed himself having sex with his sod friends in front of film students when he was teaching a class in San Francisco during the 1970s. In Rosakinder, it is von Praunheim that is lovingly roasted and for that reason alone, the documentary makes for mandatory viewing for anyone that has ever wanted to beat the shit out of the pink Teutonic poof.
As described at the beginning of Rosakinder, Rosa von Praunheim has been flaunting himself in front of the camera for 70 years “and this camera shows a sex-obsessed man-eater with colorful hats who shoots scandalous films and does gay stuff. But this camera shows nothing of what the people see who perhaps know him best, fear him most, and love him unconditionally: his children.” After detailing how they met the filmmaker and presenting a short film in (anti)tribute to him, all five filmmaker conclude the documentary by singing von Praunheim’s favorite Christmas song (“O Tannenbaum” aka “O Christmas Tree”) while sporting goofy costumes that the director picked out specifically for them. Indeed, at the end of the doc, one sees the man who directed Run Lola Run sporting an aesthetically repugnant hyena clitoris outfit. Tom Tykwer met von Praunheim in 1988 while working in a movie theater and screening the filmmaker’s documentary Überleben in New York (1989) aka Survival in New York and they have apparently been best buds ever since. Filmmaker Chris Kraus (Shattered Glass, Vier Minuten aka 4 Minutes) details how he wanted to beat von Praunheim’s ass around the time they first met and how he is shocked that no one has ever given the A Virus Knows no Morals (1985) director a good beating. Probably because she is a semi-attractive woman, Julia von Heinz (Was am Ende zählt, Hanna’s Journey) was constantly told by von Praunheim that her films were phony and Hollywood-like. Bearded beta-male Robert Thalheim (Netto, Westkind) was in constant fear of the gay professor because he thought his teacher would think he was too ‘bourgeois.’ Undoubtedly, the youngest of the group, Axel Ranisch (Heavy Girls aka Dicke Mädchen, Reuber)—a considerably swarthy and morbidly obese gay boi who loves to get naked in his own films—has the most love for von Praunheim, as his professor helped him to come out of the closet and not feel ashamed about making films were he exposes his unclad fat flab for the entire world to see. Not surprisingly, by the end of Rosakinder, von Praunheim says to all 5 filmmakers, “I see you as human beings and as friends. But if we take Axel, for example…In terms of my work, I naturally feel a closer proximity to what he does,” thus demonstrating the cocksucker credo that all fags must stick together and that the director probably should have started his own pink film school.
During the beginning of Rosakinder, filmmaker Chris Kraus states that von Praunheim is, “the godfather of lousy taste, of lousy craftsmanship.” Despite Kraus’ less than flattering remarks regarding his teacher’s oeuvre, he was responsible for co-penning von Praunheim’s awful agitprop-docudrama The Einstein of Sex: Life and Work of Dr. M. Hirschfeld (1999) aka Der Einstein des Sex. As Kraus—a middle-aged man who says rather childish things like, “I hate fathers. I hate authority. I hate paternal authority” despite the fact that he is himself a father—mentions during the doc, he sees von Praunheim as a father figure, even though he is a flagrant fairy. In fact, there is a chance that Kraus and von Praunheim might be related as the former’s SS Sturmbannführer grandfather may have boned the latter’s biological mother. Indeed, the two worked together on the documentary Two Mothers (2007) aka Meine Mütter - Spurensuche in Riga after von Praunheim learned he was adopted in 2000 and wanted to find out who his real parents were. Claiming he already has a large enough burden in terms of collective guilt regarding the holocaust, von Praunheim opts for not discovering whether or not Kraus’ Sturmbannführer grandfather was also his father. Undoubtedly, what all the five filmmakers of Rosakinder have in common is that they are products of the post-nationalist, postmodern ethno-masochistic disease that has transformed Germany into a cultural graveyard inhabited by dead souls who seem to know nothing about their own country’s rich cultural and cinematic history, with the meticulously stylized yet ultimately soulless films of Tom Tykwer reflecting the height of this perturbing culturally apocalyptic phenomenon. Even von Praunheim seems to realize this as demonstrated by his typically scatological remarks regarding his student’s films, “It’s like a baby that’s had a poo and loves his pile of poo. It’s all steamy, and the baby beams with joy. It was the same with the students’ films too; they were like their little poos. And when you took away their joy, they hated you.” In other words, none of these pampered filmmakers have anything to say and are merely parroting the cosmopolitan post-Auschwitz bullshit they have been spoon-fed since birth.
Tykwer—a rampant heterosexual who used to date Franka Potente, the star of his films Run Lola Run and The Princess and the Warrior—has deluded himself with so much politically correct bullshit that he claims that the decidedly depraved homo celluloid scat pieces of von Praunheim have had the most imperative influence on him as a filmmaker. Undoubtedly, Kraus is even more pathetic as he credits von Praunheim for helping him to hate his once-beloved Sturmbannführer opa, stating, “My grandfather and his brothers weren’t just Nazis. They weren’t just in the SS. They were part of the Holocaust” and “I often cry about my grandfather, who I dearly loved as a child. And that love almost made me a Nazi forever.” Ultimately, Rosakinder reminded me of the absurdity of mainstreaming homosexuality and shoving sodomy in everyone's face. After all, why should any majority have to ‘tolerate’ and ‘embrace’ the lifestyles of a minority that they, as heterosexuals, would otherwise find completely repugnant?! Indeed, whereas Tykwer probably would have learned more from Volker Schlöndorff and Julia von Heinz more from Helma Sanders-Brahms as film professors, they were all stuck with a college dropout like Rosa von Praunheim for what can only be described as dubious political reasons. After all, only a gay (and maybe black, Jewish, and/or transvestite) film professor could get away with telling his co-professor to go kill themselves by jumping out of a window as von Praunheim apparently once did (in fact, one of his colleagues even sued him). Indeed, von Praunheim is at his greatest as a filmmaker when he is at his most unrepentantly raunchiest, and the last place his ‘idiosyncratic’ brand of filmmaking needs to be is at a film school.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 9:10 PM
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