Monday, October 02, 2006
A twist on an old German favorite, DAF (Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft), for two German-related items.
• Score! My friend Alexis managed to get us tickets to the Théâtre de l'Odéon's production of Heiner Müller's Quartett, which is based on Laclos' Liaisons Dangereuses. It's staged by Robert Wilson and stars Isabelle Huppert and Ariel Garcia Valdès. I was looking forward to some R&R in Paris in October, and now the trip will be even more interesting. No matter what you think of Huppert, nobody can deny that she takes risks, unlike, I may add, her contemporary Isabelle Adjani, also on the Paris stage but in a rather different vehicle, Marie Stuart—not by Schiller but by an obscure German playwright, Wolfgang Hildesheimer. And to think Adjani played Emily to Huppert's Anne in André Téchiné's Les Soeurs Brontë (1979). Their careers could not have taken more different paths since.
Alas, timing does not only play in my favor, and I'll miss some interesting-looking items in the Festival d'Automne, especially Marcial Di Fonzo Bo's latest evening of plays by Copi, and Romeo Castellucci's new piece, Hey Girl!, which runs in November. Anybody who saw Castellucci's Tragedia Endogonidia: L. #09 London Portrait at Montclair's Kasser Theater last October has got to be dying to see more. Why oh why can't Lincoln Center, BAM or St. Ann's Warehouse bring him and his company, Societas Raffaello Sanzio, over? L. #09 didn't have anything resembling a plot or characters but it was the kind of full-on theatrical experience that remains branded in one's head.
• Read in the latest issue of The Wire that German director Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's 1978 movie Hitler: A Film from Germany is online. You can see it here for $1, which goes toward the restauration of the Nussendorf church tower and is rather cheap for a seven-hour-long reflection on the medium of film as much as on Germany. Syberberg is one of the great directors of the New German Cinema of the 1970s and 1980s, albeit the least well-known in the US. Susan Sontag wrote at length about his masterstroke in The New York Review of Books, starting with "Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's Hitler, A Film from Germany is not only daunting because of the extremity of its achievement, but discomfiting, like an unwanted baby in the era of zero population growth." You need to pay $3 for the rest of the piece, but you can get an idea of its gist based on these letters to the editors, followed by Sontag's response. Her line about how "The need to reduce the work of art to its message obfuscates the character of its artistic lineage" resonates still.