mago

Sunday Music

Sometimes time is crawling, then rushing, actually I think it is back to its “normal” floating flowing.
I had to go to the doctor’s every day in the last week, they always found something that had to be checked ; finally they gummed me with cables and made me carry a little box around my neck. I have to give that thing back tomorrow in the early morning, so that its measurements can be checked before I have to go into St.James’ Infirmary.
I found no music that would please me now, so let’s take the tram through Ulm (Ger., Eng.) in 1922. I hope you like the little excursion. May it be a good week for all of us.
And because I found no other way to show them, some poppies.

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P.S.
Something technical : I tried to comment on blogger sites (Savannah’s [Happy Birthday to the Capt’n ! ], Eros’ [I wanted to say something about the insect], IDV’s [groyn ! ],  et al.), and my comments simply vanished. I first thought that you had voted for “approval”, so that any comment would show up only after being checked, but this is not the case. They simply are not processed properly. And : I am not asked for verification, does not matter how long I wait, it simply does not show up. So please accept my apologies, I’m not staying mum, there is simply (another) software problem.

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Aside, mago

Dies und Das

The boxer Graciano “Rocky” ROCCHIGIANI (Ger., Eng.) died some days ago. For those of my readers who are not interested in European boxing, Rocky was one of the few German world champions, regardless now of what “federation” ; he won two championships in middle weight. ROCCHIGIANI was one of those guys who fought his way up, only to lose it all, and manage to come back. He blew his money, spent time in jail – the full circle. A terrible loudmouth sometimes.
But one thing no one could ever deny – he was always himself. What all these “personality consultants” tell their (seemingly un-authentic) clients and call “authenticity” – Rocky had enough of this : Not the cleverest or smartest boxer who ever graced a ring, but always Rocky. You should think that one needs a tank to run this guy over to make sure that he does not come back, but he was run over and killed by a person driving a SMART.

Some weeks ago Mr Inexplicable DeVice brought a list of some videos he “most recently watched courtesy of YouTube” “for no reason other than I thought they were quite a diverse selection”. Included was one with the divine Annie LENNOX. Mr Eroswings took the chance to list in the comments to the mentioned post a list of “top recently viewed” videos (that contain nice ladies). This made Mr LẌ put together and post his own list of “top ten videos”.
All this made me think about videos, stuff on youtube and other video platforms – I could not name five favourites. I remembered scenes from films I liked and did not forget despite the fact that I saw them maybe forty years ago for the first time. Like the picture of this canon in Mr KEATONs (Ger., Eng.) The General (Ger., Eng.)  Or what Jacques TATI (Ger., Eng.) did in all his films (just a scene). And then there were some short films that impressed me – I think La Cabina (Ger., Eng.) comes to mind first. Do not read about it, watch it here, 34 minutes. It is of archeological value, because only humans of a certain age know what a “telephon box” / “Telephonzelle” actually was.

Such a holiday in the middle of the week is a nice invention. But generally a week of four working days would be a nice idea, worth a try. I think some company in New Zealand is introducing it. But hey, they stand on their heads there and live in the future …

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Sunday Music

Sunday Music

The last week simply was. I drove, it rained, I slept. Some days it rained at bit earlier, on others a bit later. Besides this nothing noteworthy happened in my world.
I do not feel like bringing some music today, so a little film must do. It shows what hand-crafted cameras & tubes are good for, and what “contribution to our way of life” television may have.
And while we are at it and have a look into the stone age of telecommunications – have you ever heard about PLATO (Ger., Eng.) ? Me not, until I read this book review (sorry, German only) of Mr Brian DEARs The Friendly Orange Glow. The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, NewYork 2017. (And because anything these days must be gendered, have a look at this too. It is about the fine art of interpreting source material.)
If you find all this too boring, just skip it please, and start to think where you’ll put your “Utiliscope”. Btw, if these tubes are really nearly indestructable, is it possible that some survived ? Is there a big black, slightly rusted, sixty year old metal case pointed at your house ? Don’t worry – it’s all safe. Chances are good that somewhere a grey haired friendly smiling nurse is watching over all of us.
What reminds me that I miss Nurse Myra, who was not grey haired, and her corsets. Ach, all is intertwined these days …
I hope you’ll have a carefree week.

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Persons, Places

… That Becomes Even Stranger

The mentioned “Aktwerk” contains 24 photographs by 14 different photographers, all names unknown to me – here’s the list : Willy Zielke (3), Heinz von Perckhammer, Bruno Schultz (8), Carl Semon, Alfred Grabner, Viktor Hayd, Trude Fleischmann, Max Rothkegel, Franz Grainer, Heinz Hajek-Halke (2), Franz Kepler, Ewald Hoinkis, Ursula Lang-Kurz und Heinrich Iffland.
I looked through the names and read wikipedia-articles, as far as they exist, and the last one – yes, I do lists from behind, the “wrong” way ; I simply do this, I can’t explain – and the last one was Willy ZIELKE (Ger.) (1902-1989) “…. photographer … expressionistic … who did “Das STAHLTIER” …” – ?
What ?
I thought I knew the canon of expressionistic German fillums from the 1920s & 1930s, but this one had escaped me. Also ZIELKE’s biography. He learned in Munich at the Staatslehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen in 1923 and 1924 (what later became the Fachakademie für Fotodesign), and was teaching there from 1928 until 1936. He took part in the Werkbundausstellung “Film und Foto” and so became known to a wider audience. In the early 1930s he started to make films, his first independent solo work was “Arbeitslos – Ein Schicksal von Millionen” (Unemployed – One of Millions) from 1933.
ZIELKE was commissioned to produce a film for the hundredth “birthday” of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, this is the already mentioned “Stahltier” from 1935. The heads of the railway expected a nice advertisement or promotion picture, and were less than underwhelmed with the finished product – much to ZIELKE’s shock and dismay.
He constructed a story around a Werkstudent / student employee who has to complete field training with a group of workers ; the relationship between the group and the “intellectual”, ongoing engineer, develops, especially because the young man knows the history of the railroad and tells & explains it to the workers. As I read the picture does not follow ns aesthetics, does not use contemporary symbols, depicts neither student nor workers as aryan superhumans or lies about the history of the steaming engine. In fact ZIELKE did an aesthetically outstanding artful picture in the category corporate film / Industriefilm that the purchaser did not like : They blabbed something about “communist aesthetics” and threw the thing in the drawer.
Interestingly this film later was used within the training of cameramen for German propaganda units, as example for what is possible.
After the war a complete copy was found in Paris, but the successor of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, the Deutsche Bahn, still regarded the film as “not publishable”, and urged ZIELKE to shorten his work. So from circa 1955 onwards exists a crippled 50 (?) minutes version of the original 70 minutes film. Only much later, in the 1980s, the uncut original was shown publicly.
ZIELKE’s STAHLTIER (GOd, what a title !) brought him to the attention of Leni RIEFENSTAHL. She had him as collaborator for her Olympia films, and ZIELKE independently made the “Prolog” for the pictures. There was a contract, and he had it notariazed, nevertheless he is not in the credits of said picture(s), RIEFENSTAHL just dispersed him.
What follows is disputable. It is a fact that ZIELKE from February 1937 until August 1942 was held as patient in the mental asylum / Kreisirrenanstalt Haar. He describes it as kidnapping and accuses RIEFENSTAHL of pulling strings. I am not convinced, RIEFENSTAHL simply would have not needed to do something like that. She was in a nearly untouchable position in Nazi Germany. Earlier she even had shown the STAHLTIER to GOEBBELS and argued for the picture – in vain, GOEBBELS simply did not like it.
I think ZIELKE suffered from a nervous breakdown, the diagnosis “Verfolgungswahn” / paranoia / delusions of persecution may be valid or not, I have no clue. ZIELKE was castrated while in Haar, against his will, but according to the law, as a German judge told him after the end of the Third Reich when he asked for compensation. ZIELKE says he was subjected to experiments, but I think that was not verified. He was glad not to be executed (Ger., Eng.), Haar was part of the murder machinery.
In August 1942 RIEFENSTAHL – of all humans ! – took him out from Haar, and used him as cameraman for Tiefland (Ger., Eng.).
ZIELKE survived the war, started to produce small films in the 1950s and worked as cameraman again. I read that at the beginning of the 1970s, when he was completely out of the public’s eye and forgotten, a French collector “borrowed” his collection of negatives, and “forgot” to give it back. At least one of his negatives was sold for a pretty large sum via an auctioneer’s house while ZIELKE had to live from benefits. He died in June 1989, 86 years old.
What a life.

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The only account of ZIELKE’s biography and his film is found here (part I) & here (part II) (Go there for pictures !), written by Manfred POLAK. Of course my scribble heavily relies on Herr POLAKs work.
It would be very helpful if the article by Herr POLAK would be translated professionally into English. Also English versions of the German wikipedia articles about ZIELKE and Das STAHLTIER would be very helpful.

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