A LOOK BACK ....*
[...] In March 1968, I vacationed in Denmark with Werner
[Nekes], Dore [O] and Rainhild. We rented a house near Ringkøbing
[...] It was there that Dore's film ALASKA was made in the course of three
weeks, and I made two films as well which were pinched later on. One of
them was still viewed by Ken Jacobs who told me, 'Klaus, what you show
here is simply too muddled.' And he showed me a few sequences featuring
Jack Smith which he had made a couple of years ago and which now, due to
Ken's characteristic way of showing them, radiated a concentration which
stunned me [...]
Having returned from Denmark, I began to cut a film I had shot in fall [...] The cuts were to be independent of any continuous movement of the actors, being derived entirely from a pattern of numbers which were prescribing the length of each sequence. The film was called GOING TO STUTTGART, and it looked great with the music of the 'Mothers' turned on. But I saw no possibility at the time to incorporate the approach into a larger structure, and so I developed into a different direction. Perhaps this was because of the complete absence of any theory of film which might deal with non-continuous montage. [...]
During the summer of '68, I shot 10 films, all 8mm, and arranged a screening in the Brüderstrasse [in Hamburg], attended by quite a few people. This encouraged us to start a sort of movie theater which we opened in Werner's basement. We fitted it with some benches and mattresses and drew up a few programs that mixed Werner's and my films. And usually we made abt. a hundred [Deutsch-]Marks, which was far above the production costs of my films. Werner probably was more ambitious in this respect.
[...] In the meantime the [Hamburg] filmmakers' cooperative had been founded, the first Hamburg film show had taken place, there was the scandal concerning [H. Costard's] BESONDERS WERTVOLL, and the amazing solidarity among filmmakers in Oberhausen. But all those events do not stand out sharply any more in my memory: [...] in Sept. '68, I left Germany in order to work in New York as a physicist. [....]
It was difficult to get used to Hamburg again. [...] I
got a room in the coop, and there I assembled, like a madman, DÄMONISCHE
LEINWAND, an 8mm movie that has a duration of 6 hrs.
Maybe it is the revelation that I owe to [Werner's film],
KELEK, which was at the root of my incapability to face NEBULA and T-W-OMEN
intensely. I always had a slight aversion against these films. I quickly
found a terminology which 'solidly' underpinned this aversion. Terms like
'contentwise bourgeois' came to mind [...] Undoubtedly, the guy
shown in NEBULA who is tying himself up is an image from the bourgeois
arsenal, as is the chap turning [ladies'] shoes into a fetish [...], and
surely the constellation of women in T-W-OMEN is solidly anchored in a
bourgeois surplus economy. But these terms, which describe my uneasiness,
are focused unambiguously on content-related systems. The formal structure
of NEBULA is not different enuf from that of KELEK to provoke a rejection,
and especially T-W-OMEN is an extremely progressive, explorative work in
terms of its structure.
In all of Werner's 'narrative' films there exists a fascinating quality, and that's his treatment of the simple, disjunctive, associative cut. I believe there is no other filmmaker in the world who knows how to use it in such a sensitive and discrete way. It can be found in all of Werner's films since KELEK (all, that is, except SPACE CUT, but abt. this later) [...]
* These are excerpts from a text by Klaus
Wiborny that was included in WERNER NEKES 1966-1973, Eine Dokumentration,
ed. by. Reinhard OSELIES and Ingo PETZKE, Bochum 1974, pp. 94-101.
(The excerpts published here were chosen and translated by Andreas Weiland)
- The title, "A Look Back...", has been added by the editor.