Christoph Schlingensief  



A German enfant-terrible, cult-director who is also involved in theatre and politics. His approach is a unique blend of art using Dadaist shocks, intellectual subversion and some black comedy, pop-culture and camp. Described as 'filth for intellectuals', his movies usually mix real events and political statements with over-the-top absurdism, gore and filth backed by maniacal energy, and explore ideas by following whims and anarchy. The results are usually completely insane films. Many of his musings and jokes are probably better appreciated by Germans however.

Of Some Interest

Egomania  
This one starts as moderately interesting philosophical surrealism with various striking scenes, colorful gritty filters and meditations on the good vs. bad in man and how to integrate them. Udo Kier is torn between his good, love, marriage and his basic impulses, and a strange bearded man is both carried away like Jesus into the cold snow, and serves as a guide into darker wastelands. People are killed with bricks, Udo finds himself eating mud, and more. But then the film unravels into a typical Schlingensief insane romp with an assortment of weird characters, witches and demons as they cross-dress, dance, run around screaming, act with melodramatic camp, commit acts of jealousy and rage, with symbolism and provocative thoughts sprinkled throughout. Not filthy like his other works, but definitely wild.

120 Days of Bottrop  
The last New German Cinema film is a remake of Salo/120 Days of Sodom as directed by a certified lunatic and written by Stephen Hawking. This insane self-aware film makes fun of the German film-making industry and award ceremony, worshipping Fassbinder and his troupe, porn, and searches for Helmut Berger, Roland Emmerich and of course Udo Kier. Not being German, many jokes flew right over my head, but the energy and insanity provide a few laughs. The film is a chaotic splice of homosexual porn, insanity, gore and other indescribable scenes. Absolute madness.

Terror 2000 (AKA Germany in Revolt)  
Absolutely insane movie depicting an over-the-top crazy and violent world via re-unified Germany. After a social worker and some Poles go missing, an inspector investigates in a Nazi-run town. The Nazis are typically violent and racist but are accompanied by a demented and perverted priest (Udo Kier), a minister performs empty gestures and is totally useless, the immigrants and minorities are portrayed as stupid and ultimately senselessly violent as well, a healer leads a group of religious loonies and actually achieves something but is still a loony, and the investigator himself turns out to be a complete pervert. In other words, Schlingensief sees everyone as contributing to a screwed up world... anarchy must prevail? Filthy, gory, perverse, energetic madness.

Tunguska - The Boxes are There  
First full-length from Schlingensief, attacking film-making itself. A couple and various researchers and film-makers find themselves in an adventure full of horror cliches filmed in avant-garde and absurdly chaotic cinematography, and watched as a film within a film by a very invested audience. They discuss their goals while running through the woods, a river, symbolically trapped in a castle, behind a gate, trying to uncover a mystery, their individualistic ideas, hidden in 'boxes', but all the while told how to play the game with rules and traps. The camera shakes, shoots from unexpected positions, the light flashes, strobe effects attack the audience, dizzying camera movements, the film itself burns and melts, and out of nowhere comes a Dadaistic game of shapes and lights. Tunguska refers to the scientific mystery in Siberia approached in dozens of ways by many people but never truly solved. Mostly immature and chaotic provocation a la Venom and Eternity, but occasionally interesting as an angsty film-making manifesto.

Worthless

Freakstars 3000  
Mentally handicapped people in an American-Idol-esque show as well as in a discussion-show and home-shopping commercials. What is the point? That people that usually appear in these shows are retards? That such non-handicapped people are being exploited and are losing their dignity? That the TV industry (especially reality shows) is cheap trashy exploitation? Either way, I don't see the point in delivering the points in this way. It's not offensive, it's uninteresting and unfunny.

German Chainsaw Massacre, The  
German political and social symbolism about East vs West Germany using the Texas Chainsaw Massacre plot as a base. Clara escapes her horny boyfriend by killing him then crosses the border and soon falls into the hands of a psychotic, cannibalistic, incestuous, perverted family who corrupt her and use her for various purposes. Individualism, sex, disarmament, and family are all dismembered, run over, abused, corrupted, etc. using crude direction, splatter and bad acting.

Menu Total  
Another insane creation by Schlingensief that throws all kinds of bizarre imagery together in a jumble. There's Joe, an adult who acts like a child. His father is a raving lunatic who molests him and his whimpering mother who is in bandages. The grandparents are barking and uber-annoying, hyperactive people in army uniform. There's some chasing in the fields by zombies. A clownish Hitler, some Nazis and lots of running in bunkers and some people take turns slapping an exposed butt then chanting over it. The family has a shootout, people keep screaming about a bag, filthy Nazi scientists that perform strange experiments, a speech about the etiquette of vomiting, and more random madness. Joe has to confront and fight, even kill many of these elements with some help by a bearded man who is lusted after by the man with the exposed butt. Obviously a symbolic, aggressive attack on the conflicts between various generations of Germany, and I wouldn't be surprised if some adventurous Germans find this a cinematic act of terrorism.

100 Years of Adolf Hitler  
Shot in a few hours in a bomb shelter, this demented black and white flick uses the last hours of Hitler, his friends and family as a backdrop with which to attack political dreams of a better world, leadership that corrupts from the inside and goes insane, and possibly the conservative movement in Germany. Hitler takes drugs and has a mishap with a toilet bowl, Goebbels has incest with his daughter, others have sex, scream and go insane, and Hitler is replaced by a woman in moustache as soon as he shoots himself.

Search for Nihil Baxter, The (AKA 00 Schneider)  
Actually a Helge Schneider movie rather than anything remotely Schlingensief. Schneider resembles Germany's version of Andy Kaufman, with eccentric moronity as humor and a man who thinks everything he does is funny but is annoying to everyone except fans. Schneider here is a detective who is after Baxter, a clown killer. The movie is about silly, eccentric humor with weird sets and costumes though, including various scenes so dumb they border on the surreal. One memorable scene has a giggling Schneider visit a museum with neanderthal statues and one hairy man in a beard and underpants trots outside while the camera zooms under his crotch.

United Trash  
Insane but annoying trash, like an ugly, filthy, and dumb Russ Meyer movie on speed with a fetish for body fluids. A gay UN general, his grinning scatological lover, and his pregnant wife are sent on a mission to Africa, promising rockets, etc. The locals include a local colorful missionary and perverse priest, a psychotic Hitler-doctor who constantly vomits, and a grinning African dictator who has a thing for blowing up the White House. The wife gives birth to a worshipped black baby called Jesus Peter Pann, and after some gory baby abuse, it turns into a dwarf with an ejaculating vagina in its forehead. The obvious political targets are the UN, the catholics, the bomb, the USA, etc. but this is just too annoyingly insane to enjoy for even a minute.




2000- by Zev Toledano Table of Contents