Karl May

22 Nov

Only the one film screening at Melbourne Cinematheque this week, but ohh what a film it is. Karl May (1974) is Hans-Jurgen Syberberg’s 187 minute exploration of the life and work of German writer Karl Friedrich May. For Syberberg- a noted German director for his films, their content and his own comments about German nationalism- the cinema is a medium that encompasses every element of Art with his films often seen as combining Bertolt Brecht’s theories of the theatre and the aesthetics of Richard Wagner.

As a writer, May’s work is an odd blend of adventures set in the Wild West with eccentric characters and fanciful plotlines, and has sold millions of units across the world. He is known for being a childhood idol of Adolf Hitler who went to a lecture given by May days before his death in 1912.

Karl May dressed as Old Shatterhand, his alter-ego and main character in numerous novels.

Here, Syberberg’s film is second in a trilogy (following Ludwig- Requiem for a Virgin King (1972) and Hitler- A film from Germany (1977)) that looks at the German psyche, nationalism, and the aesthetic and mythic origins of the Third Reich. Focusing on the last ten years of May’s life Syberberg is able to highlight the impact this figure had had on Germany through dynamic and often juxtaposed performances.

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One Response to “Karl May”

  1. sahil kumar November 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    Its really cool thing to know

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