quarta-feira, 21 de setembro de 2011

Krieg und Frieden (Alexander Kluge & Volker Schlöndorff et al., 1982)

A collage of documentary and dramatised sequences dealing with such topics as overkill, peace demonstrations, NATO arms policy and life after the next war.

War and Peace: At the peak of the Cold War, the short-range missile crisis, neutron bombs could have potentially annihilated Central Europe. 300,000 protesters in Bonn. German Chancellor Schmidt resigns. Why make a film collage about war? "Nothing is more discouraging than not being able to see through a game on which your life hinges." The Candidate: Another film collage motivated by the election campaign for the German Bundestag in 1981, where Franz Josef Strauss sought the office of the chancellor. An institution in politics falters time and again because of the reality of the Federal Republic. "Getting to a place in the sun is not easy because once you are there, it has already set." The second part also offers two short films by Alexander Kluge, texts by Alexander Kluge and Oskar Negt and the unpublished screenplay "Eyes from a different country" which was never filmed.

Alexander Kluge about War and Peace

There are experiences which move the senses and the heart but which, once robbed of their historical context, are very hard to convey in film in such a way that they remain topical and hold the interest of the audience.

One such experience is the missile crisis of 1981-1984.

For our part we had made a considerable effort to film it. Why? Even at the time the majority of the audience didn't ask us to.
During those years I felt physically afraid.

To be honest, I didn't believe Germany was going to be bombarded with neutron bombs or in the total destruction of the Fulda basin, i.e. the zone in the middle of Germany into which the missiles of both sides would fall in the event of a Third World War.

Inside me I had a defence mechanism against the thought that a Third World War could be the result of the mistakes made by the experts of both warring powers (what you might call the high priests of the missile arsenals and atomic weapons).

That didn't really fire my imagination because I didn't like the picture. Yet during those days my belief that when I went to sleep in the evening I would wake up safely in the morning as if life was everlasting was shaken. My father had died in 1979 and my mother in 1981. Both in May.

I would never have believed such "signs" were possible. I would never have thought that these two people were mortal. Which is why I was now afraid.

If my experience of cinema was anything to go by, that should have meant that my next film would have concentrated on the polar opposite of such fears. Either a film about the successes of SPACE BIOLOGISTS during the Russian Revolution who almost managed to produce eternal life in their laboratories, or a film "without any compulsion to meaning", a film which would have corresponded to the unreal blue of the sky.

Somewhere in my conscience, however, there was a spark which forced me to make the effort to concentrate my imaginative faculties on the scenarios of possible annihilation resulting from the plans hatched by the fundamentally unreliable strategies pursued in the USA, in the Soviet Union and by the military staff of the Federal Republic. Did they really differ, so soon after Soviet troops had marched into Afghanistan, from the PATTERNS OF THOUGHT in the years 1912-1914? One part of my imaginative faculties, of my emotions, chased after such rational deliberations. Another part of me, of my feelings, led me to search for hiding places and tunnels as a defence mechanism against such rational considerations. *Where could I flee to?*

Krieg und Frieden / War and Peace - West Germany 1982 - Directed by: Alexander Kluge, Volker Schlöndorff, Stefan Aust, Axel Engstfeld - Written by: Alexander Kluge, Volker Schlöndorff, Stefan Aust, Axel Engstfeld, Heinrich Böll - Cinematography by: Werner Lüring, Thomas Mauch, Franz Rath, Igor Luther, Bernd Mosblech - Edited by: Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus, Carola Mai, Dagmar Hirtz, Barbara von Weitershausen, Gisela Keuerleber - Cast: Hans-Michael Rehberg, Dieter Traier, Jürgen Prochnow, Manfred Zapatka, Heinz Bennent, Edgar Selge, Angela Winkler, Bruno Ganz - Produced by: Pro-ject Filmproduktion im Filmverlag der Autoren, Munich / Kairos-Film, Munich / Bioskop-Film, Munich - Premiere / Première: October 29, 1982 (Hof Film Festival)

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