The screening of the documentary Reverse Angle: Rebellion of the Filmmakers was a great occasion to show a series of films originating from the Filmverlag der Autoren at the 2008 Berlinale. Alfred Holighaus, section director of Perspektive Deutsches Kino, curated the series.
How does the documentary Reverse Angle: Rebellion of the Filmmakers manage to arouse interest in a not-so-old chapter of German film history?
It’s just like with the Rolling Stones. There’s a generation of artists – funnily enough all born between 1935 and 1950 – who have maintained an extraordinary authenticity over the years. All the people who appear in the film are such interesting characters, some of them burned out or irritated, some completely balanced and at ease with themselves, but all are authentic in their own way. With their liveliness, they hide nothing from the camera, they talk over one another, they speak their mind – and wouldn’t shy away from talking with the others about things. They say what they really think and that’s what makes the film so lively.
The documentary contains many film clips that one might not have ever seen, or at least not for a long time. You see the documentary and think, “man, I would love to see that in the cinema again…” All this makes the film the perfect opener for the series.
How would you describe situation in the German film industry at the time the Filmverlag was founded?
It happened at a point in time when commercial German films were being made as s, from Simmel’s “rascal” films to educational films, they were all made in serial form. Which didn’t do much to advance the art. On the one hand television dominated everything. But then there was a generation of filmmakers who were different, who really had something to say and needed a foundation upon which they could work. Their success proved them right, whereby it was really a marketing success, because suddenly there was a label for ambitious film.