Opening 12 Oct 2023
A feminine figure in white juxtaposed against a beautiful landscape and the sounds of a melancholic piece sung by a soprano. A cavernous cellar with tall, clay-like columns. An inverted ziggurat sparingly filled with fencing and a mishmash of materials and sculptures. Massive paintings in an even bigger warehouse, the artist dwarfed by their size. These are just some of the lasting impressions from Anselm – Das Rauschen der Zeit. Eminent, and often controversial, German artist Anselm Kiefer’s work is lyrically displayed throughout the film which also nominally leads audiences through the different periods of his work. From his early photographs Occupations and Heroische Sinnbilder (Heroic Symbols), where the artist dressed in his father’s old Wehrmacht uniform and mimicked the Nazi salute, to his paintings inspired by Paul Celan’s poem “Todesfuge”, as well as his massive architectural sculptures such as Seven Heavenly Palaces, the audience is led lyrically through the various studios of the artist’s career and his growth of as an artist. Periodically, Kiefer is also depicted as a boy (Anton Wenders), a young man (Daniel Kiefer), and at his current 78 years (Anselm Kiefer), bringing focus back to the artist and his place in the development of these impressive and sometimes overwhelming works.
Director Wim Wenders’ latest foray into 3D artist documentaries (following his success with 2011’s Pina), is a masterpiece of depth, both physical and philosophical. Each sculpture, room, and painting is lovingly framed by Wenders and cinematographer Franz Lustig, while Leonard Küßner’s score provides a stirring emotional throughline. Using television interviews, readings from Paul Celan’s works, and also some minor reenactments, Anselm manages to not only provide context and a strong emotional understanding to Kiefer’s work, but also manages to effectively display the scale and magnitude of what the artist has accomplished throughout his career. Anselm is the perfect sort of film about art; it is accessible to those new to the artist while also providing added depth and appreciation to those who are fans. Philosophical, poetic, and visually stunning, this is not a film to be missed by fans of Kiefer or those interested in the ways that cinema can expand our appreciation of art. (Rose Finlay)