Volker Schlondorff's Cinema: Adaptation, Politics, and the "Movie-Appropriate"

By Hans-Bernhard Moeller; George Lellis | Go to book overview

6
“Amphibious” Movies and
Formal Experiments

After the critical and commercial failure of Michael Kohlhaas, Schlöndorff entered what one might describe as a period of retrenchment, a period that roughly parallels a transition in the New German Cinema in general. After the burst of activity of the Young German Cinema of the late 1960s, there was something of a lull before the more impressive achievements of the 1970s. Thus, during the first half of the 1970s, Schlöndorff worked exclusively on lowbudget productions financed in association with German television. Although much of this period was a low-profile time for the director, it was also a productive one. The resultant movies, namely Baal (1969), The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach (1970), The Morals of Ruth Halbfass (Die Moral der Ruth Halbfass, 1971), A Free Woman (Strohfeuer, 1972), Overnight Stay in Tyrol (Übernachtung in Tirol, 1973), Georgina's Reasons (Georginas Gründe, 1974), The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975), and Coup de Grâce (1976), include several impressive successes.

The beginning of the second period is marked by Schlöndorff's founding, along with Peter Fleischmann, of his own production company, HallelujahFilm, in 1969. The production company was for a period to be Schlöndorff's home base in working out production arrangements with West German television, and it operated until 1981. In 1973, Schlöndorff began, along with Reinhard Hauff, Bioskop-Film, for which much of his subsequent work has been produced. Both production companies were in Munich on the lot of the venerable “Arriflex, ” Arnold and Richter, camera works. After the collapse of the West German commercial film industry during the late 1960s, such independent production and distribution efforts became a trend, cresting in the 1971 establishment of the “Filmverlag der Autoren, ” a combined collective production and distribution setup.

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