Your movie Das
Wundern des jungen Ulysses - in a few words, what is it about?
It's the cinematic obituary to an artist, whose traumata quite
probably pushed him beyond breaking point.
Wundern des jungen Ulysses has a bit of a mystery to it - so
what's the story behind the movie, and what made you want to make the film
in the first place?
I wanted to make the movie for a very
simple reason, because I had the opportunity. But I also have to say that
I didn't know anything about the backstory before I entered the apartment.
Basically, a friend of mine told me about that apartment where someone
hanged himself, and apart from the body, that was of course removed,
everything is like it was then. I found that interesting, so I contacted
the landlord of the apartment. In the conversation it transpired that the
man apparently cut off his penis before his suicide. That was interesting,
and after he sent me photos of the apartment and the hand-painted pictures
of the tenant, it became obvious that I had to shoot something.
The artist covered in Das
Wundern des jungen Ulysses - how did you find out about him in the
first place? And what can you tell us about his art?
mentioned, I learned about his art through the photos that were sent to
me. The bedroom and the den were full with these pictures and show that he
had been trying to channel his traumata artistically for quite a long
time. And the landlord didn't even know about the case with all the
self-drawn comicbooks. We only discovered that by chance in our
conversation before the shoot. It was also pure coincidence that I found
the "confession" at all. The whole case was full of his
comicbooks, and I just picked out some randomly and thumbed through them.
would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?
I even entered the apartment, I thought I ought to put the focus on the
living room. But when the story evolved more and more before my very eyes,
the pieces in the den grew more and more important. Stylistically I had to
rely on what I had, also because I only had 80 minutes for the shoot as
such, which is why there are minor breaches of style every now and again.
This is also owed to the fact that I had no actual concept for the film
and wanted to let myself be directed by circumstances - which actually
happened, too. But even if I had had a concept back when, it would have
been discarded when I found all the comicbooks the latest. Investigating a
room through the eye of a camera creates a feeling of intimacy. Intimacy
between me and the audience, but also between the artist and the audience
- even if months have passed between the actual suicide and the shoot (the
apartment had been sealed off by the police) one gets the impression that
it had just happened. One can still find out how he passed his last days
(at a steakhouse and at the movies). Even his ID card was still sitting on
the table. Taking that into account, it wasn't easy to keep an objective
distance to the case, and this is something I wanted to transpire to the
audience. Likewise a certain feeling of anticipation, since at the
beginning it's quite unclear what the film's about and what's happening.
also liked the idea to give the audience the impression that they uncover
a secret. Since the part that was shot with hand-held cameras was very
reminiscent of crime scene investigations by the police, later when the
"confession" is found one gets the feeling of having solved the
case, which in a way is possibly true even. I filmed the self-drawn
pictures on a tripod and often only showed details. I wanted to let the
audience to think there's something hidden here. The musical score by
Stephan Ortlepp only enforces that feeling. Narratively, I wanted to take
myself back as much as possible, thus the sudden ending, no prologue or
epilogue. Since I tell Ulysses' story, I found that fitting, even if or
even because only the apartment is doing the narrating. Maybe he has been
considering for a long time to tell his story to the public via his
comics, but didn't found the courage. But this will all just remain
in someone else's apartment and going through his things - what did that
feel like, actually? And what can you tell us about the shoot as such?
was a very odd feeling. After all, I've entered the personal space of
another perosn uninvited - and if that person's alive or not doesn't
really matter here. Until days before entering the apartment I was unaware
of its existence. I can't say what kind of a person he was or how he
became what he was. But because of the shoot, especially in the following
weeks, the story stayed with me and I could think of hardly anything else.
During the editing process, I did get the feeling that I got closer to him
as a human being who has experienced something bad. That's why I want my
film to be understand as a obituary of a man who had enormous artistic
potential, not as an accusation. Judging from his journal I'm pretty sure
that he's been a victim of sexual abuse. If he also was an offender, which
might be a way to interpret his work, I cannot tell. This is why I've only
portrayed him as a victim and omitted some shots since they might be
$64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?
planning a small DVD release of shorts that I've made in the last two
years - which would be Addio
Wundern des jungen Ulysses, and maybe a fifth movie as well. But
for the time being I can't say anything more concrete. But additionally
I'll send the movie to a handful of film festivals, all of which will
reject it. But I've already gotten an acceptance.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Das
Wundern des jungen Ulysses yet?
As of now, I
haven't really made the rounds with this movie, apart from with the usual
suspects. But the feedback has been very promising on one hand, on the
other it has been as a punch to the gut - and that's exactly the reaction
I was going for.
Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Thanks for all
your support for my (and everyone else's) little films, and also for the
chance to talk a little about Das
Wundern des jungen Ulysses, which for some will be elementary.