Opening 20 Aug 2020
Christoph Schlingensief, born 1960 in Oberhausen, Germany, became famous for his work as director of film, theater and opera. He organized events which connected art and politics. Director Bettina Böhler follows his life until his early death in Berlin shortly before his 50th birthday in 2010.
His father, a pharmacist, enjoyed filming Christoph as an only child, and these films are the basis for our first impressions. Schlingensief himself enjoyed filming already at age eight. He organized a group of interested friends, including Helge Schneider (who also became a filmmaker) and came out with his first serious work in 1974—just 14 years old. His applications for acceptance to study film were rejected several times. His father suggested that he take over the pharmacy instead. We learn about many films such as Mutters Maske (1988), 100 Jahre Adolf Hitler (1989) Das deutsche Klettersäger Massaker (1990), Terror 2000 (1992). He sometimes appears in his own films, as well as those of others. He turns to directing theater (100 Jahre CDU in 1993 or Rocky Dutsche ’68 in 1996), acting in theater (Hamlet 2003) and directing opera (Parcifal, 2004-07). In 1998, he organizes a political party called Change 2000. In 2002 he makes a TV series called Freak Stars 3000 which features the disabled. Always active to the end, he works on establishing a festival theater in Burkina Faso, Africa, which is completed in 2010.
In two hours, we learn so much about this talented filmmaker, director, actor, and organizer. Still, it’s just a crack in the life of endless energy so that we wish to investigate his accomplishments further. All commentary is by Schlingensief himself, contrary to similar documentaries where we learn about the main figure through impressions of others. Schlingensief says, “I don’t know who I am, and hope people recognize me.” “Positive thinking is not good.” “The perspective is the key feature.”
The English title is The Voice that Shook the Silence although literally it would translate into Scream into the Silence which is what Christoph Schlingentief does his entire life. He would have approved of his film showing at the 2020 Berlinale, as he himself served on the Berlinale jury in 2009. (Becky Tan)