“My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.”
During the Cannes Film Festival in 1982, Wim Wenders set-up a static camera in a room at the Hotel Martinez. He then invited a selection of directors to answer a series of questions on the future of cinema:
“Is cinema a language about to get lost, an art about to die?”
The directors, in order of appearance were:
Mike De Leon
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Each director was allowed 11 minutes (one 16mm reel of film) to answer the questions, which were then edited together by Wenders and released as Room 666 in 1982. Interestingly each director is positioned in front of a television, which is left on throughout the interview. It’s a simple and effective film, and the most interesting contributors are the usual suspects. Godard goes on about text and is dismissive of TV, then turns tables by asking Wenders questions; Fassbinder is distracted (he died within months) and quickly discusses “sensation oriented cinema” and independent film-making; Herzog is the only one who turns the TV off (he also takes off his shoes and socks) and thinks of cinema as static and TV, he also suggests movies in the future will be supplied on demand; Spielberg is, as expected of a high-grossing Hollywood film-maker, interested in budgets and their effect on smaller films, though he is generally buoyant about the future of cinema; while Monte Hellman isn’t, hates dumb films and tapes too many movies off TV he never watches; all of which is undercut by Turkish director Yilmaz Güney, who talks the damaging affects of capitalism and the reality of making films in a country where his work was suppressed and banned “by some dominant forces”.
Take a look:
Beethoven Mass in C major, Op. 86 – VI. Sanctus (Adagio)
See if this doesn’t get your heart beating faster…
Many of Beethoven’s most popular pieces were first performed at a concert on this day under less than ideal circumstances.
Beethoven was tired of having his music performed at charity concerts where he saw no money. So he begged the Theatre an der Wien to let him have a benefit concert for himself. What resulted was the storied “Marathon Concert”.
- The event lasted over four hours; the heater was broken.
- It saw the premiers of: Symphony No. 5, Symphony No. 6, Choral Fantasy, Piano Concerto No. 4, part of the Mass in C and an extended jam with Beethoven at the piano.
- The orchestra was unrehearsed. Their last concert with Beethoven ended with a fight, so they refused to rehearse with him this time.
- During the Choral Fantasy, Beethoven stopped the orchestra and had them restart.
- This was Beethoven’s last ever public piano performance before his hearing went.
Despite all this, it was his first (and only) financially successful concert that year. Could you imagine sitting in the cold theatre for four hours and hearing this?
“I think Murnau’s imperturbable calm in the studio was due not only to a sense of discipline, but also because he possessed that passion for ‘play’ itself which is necessary and essential to any kind of artistic activity.
For instance, I’d made a steam apparatus for the heaven scene in the Prologue to Faust. Steam was ejected out of several pipes against a background of clouds; arc-lights arranged in a circle lit up the steam to look like rays of light. The archangel was supposed to stand in front and raise his flaming sword. We did it several times, and each time it was perfectly all right, but Murnau was so caught up in the pleasure of doing it that he forgot all about time. The steam had to keep on billowing through the beams of light until the archangel — Werner Fuetterer — was so exhausted he could no longer lift his sword. When Murnau realized what had happened, he shook his head and laughed at himself, then gave everyone a break.”
-Faust art director Robert Herlth, quoted in Lotte Eisner’s Murnau. The scene Herlth is discussing is online here.
Uwe Scholz, former ballet director in Leipzig, was hailed as one of the most brilliant choreographic minds of his generation and he was certainly one of the most important German choreographers when he died in November 2004 at the early age of 45. The fragile-looking man, who had enjoyed a full dance and musical education from childhood, took up his first position as a choreographer with Marcia Haydée in Stuttgart when he was 22. He saw himself as a mixture between his teacher John Cranko and the influential George Balanchine, and the well over one hundred magically beautiful and extraordinarily musical choreographies that he created for houses such as the Opera in Vienna, La Scala, Zurich and Leipzig owe much to neoclassicism.