Aug 3, 2014
Rather ironically, as their various strong national movements and general intolerance towards Hollywoodism/Americanism demonstrates, it seems that the eastern half of Europe that was under virtual slavery to the Soviet Union for about half a century is less deracinated, decadent, and ‘liberal’ than the western half that lived under the softcore dictatorship up Uncle Sam, Ronald McDonald, and the Rothschild Army Faction. In fact, American neo-Spenglerian philosopher/revolutionary Francis Parker Yockey was so convinced that America and the rest of the American-colonized West was such a lost cause and that the Soviet Union was less taunted that by late 1952 he argued that Yank and European nationalist groups should align themselves with the Russians to cut the tentacles of Americanization once and for all, but I digress. Undoubtedly, post-WWII German cinema is a good place to study in regard to discerning the different effects of Americanization and Soviet communism, as while virtually all of the West German filmmakers associated with German New Cinema were hardcore leftists, feminists, and neo-Marxists, Eastern Germany at least produced a couple of filmmakers that had not succumbed to the various spiritual ailments (i.e. ethno-masochism) that were quite common in the American-colonized segment of the Fatherland. Indeed, although associated with German New Cinema, Prussian auteur Hans-Jürgen Syberberg (Ludwig: Requiem for a Virgin King, Hitler: A Film from Germany), who would go on to become one of the most hated filmmakers in Germany due to his political persuasion and scandalous public statements about certain ‘protected groups’ (i.e. Jews, communists) and dared to mix kraut commie Bertolt Brecht's doctrine of epic theatre with romantic Wagnerian opera aesthetics, was associated with GNC, he actually grew up in Eastern Germany. Additionally, painter, filmmaker, and multi-media artist Lutz Dammbeck (Herakles Höhle aka The Cave of Hercules, Dürers Erben aka Dürer's Heirs), who has spent a good portion of his career focusing on the history of National Socialist aesthetics and Teutonic art in general, is from the commie GDR, but that did not stop him from utilizing NS aesthetics, including Arno Breker statues, for his early art instillations during the 1980s. Indeed, although best known for his documentary The Net (2003) aka Das Netz—an experimental work about technology and its relation to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, LSD, the CIA, and the counter-culture movement—the seeming majority of the director’s work has had to do with National Socialism in some shape or form, with his early 12-minute experimental collage short Hommage à 'La Sarraz' (1981) be a rather striking, if not aesthetically corrosive, example of this.
Featuring a radio recording of National Socialist propagandist Fritz Hippler of Der Ewige Jude (1940) aka The Eternal Jew infamy, excerpts from the völkisch quasi-avant-garde Nazi flick Enchanted Forest (1936) aka Ewiger Wald directed by Hanns Springer and Rolf von Sonjevski-Jamrowski, the romantic musical Wunschkonzert (1940) aka Request Concert, and audio recordings of Austrian-German singer Marika Rökk and Dutch actor Johannes Heesters, as well as clips from various 1930s UFA newsreels, contemporary news clips, and various other forms of recycled footage, Hommage à 'La Sarraz' was made with quite different intentions than its subversive ingredients might indicate as it takes its name from and pays tribute to a meeting that took place in 1929 among members of the European/Soviet film avant-garde at La Sarraz castle in Switzerland where a number of important auteur filmmakers made a manifesto condemning two specific things: “The commercialization of film and its subservience to ideology.” Of course, as a meeting attended by the likes of bolshevik auteur Sergei Eisenstein, whose whole career was based on subservience to an ideology (even if he did find himself in trouble at different points in his career), as well as Walter Ruttmann, who later became an assistant to Leni Riefenstahl on Triumph of the Will (1935), it is quite dubious as to whether or not these men stuck to their pledge, but that is ultimately irrelevant as Dammbeck’s film was intended as a tribute to that spirit of the avant-garde, or as the director wrote himself, “And the result was my own experimental "La Sarraz" revival studio, where we adapted the idea to the present day in an attempt to carry on in the "La Sarraz" tradition.” Originally part of a multi-media project created by the director called the ‘Hercules Media Collage’ that combined performance art, painting, dance (Fine Kwiatkowski), film (‘La Sarraz’), and photography, Hommage à 'La Sarraz' is not exactly something you would expect to have been assembled by a GDR artist (in fact, the director submitted a script for an experimental film that was ‘unalterably rejected’ by the ‘Dresdener Studio für Trickfilm’ aka Dresden Cartoon Studio in 1984), as a sort of innately anarchistic postmodern ‘neo-Heimat’ celluloid poem of sorts.
Teutonic art faggotry at its finest where autistic animation, home movie footage (including a humorous scene where Dammbeck and his friends are introduced as (in)famous Nazi filmmakers), about half a century's worth of eclectic German film/news footage, and a truly throbbing ‘music’ track by noise group Throbbing Gristle, Hommage à 'La Sarraz' feels more or less like the chaos of the Volksgeist of a Volk without a true Heimat, or as Syberberg once wrote, Germany is, “spiritually disinherited and dispossessed…a country without a homeland, without ‘Heimat.”” Indeed, during one especially interesting scene, Dammbeck juxtaposed footage of an ugly post-industrial highway with the following narration from the film Enchanted Forest: “From the forest we came, like the forests we live, from the forest we crave out Heimat and space. Like the forests our souls expand, full of life, lust, and need. Full of questions. God, please tell us, what is the hidden meaning of death?” Of course, there are no forests in the film, as the technocratic plague has bulldozed them down, with East Germany being blessed with the ungodly Soviet aesthetic. In another standout scene, a guy being interviewed for a contemporary news show remarks: “For Goebbels it was always important to provide good entertainment […] they [people] don’t want to watch anything where at the end of the film they say: “We might as well hang ourselves, there’s no sense in living!” No: People want to be entertained!” Of course, Hommage à 'La Sarraz' was not created to entertain, as it is a sort of playful aesthetically terroristic wake-up call about a divided nation that only has an undigested past and thus no future, hence the Burroughs-esque ‘cut-up’ technique style use of vintage footage and audio recordings. Undoubtedly, while watching the short, it is clear that the director has a genuine interest in understanding his nation’s history and his subsequent works, especially his for 4-documentary “Kunst &Macht” project certainly demonstrates that. Of course, only when Germans have properly ‘accepted’ their past will they be able to go on with the future and once again create truly groundbreaking cinematic art. Naturally, the same can be said about the rest of Europe, hence the all but total evaporation of not only national cinema movements, but art and culture in general.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 11:46 PM
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