Hölderlin’s Poetry Translated (I)

In late 2014, I became fascinated by Friedrich Höderlin’s latest poetry that he wrote after 1807, when he was declared insane. In that time, I translated quite a few of his poems into English, trying to preserve rhythm, rhymes and meaning, sometimes steering away from the original text in order to preserve their meaning as I perceive it. Thus, they are not actual word-by-word “translations”, but rather show my perception and interpretation of the poems, sticking close to what I perceive as their meanings.

Autumn (Der Herbst, Friedrich Hölderlin)
Translated by Alexander Tuschinski Continue reading

My Desert Films (II): Zzyzx

Beside Gold. – which I covered in my previous post – there is another short film I did that is set in a desert. Its name sounds very strange: Zzyzx (pronounced: Zy-Zacks, it rhymes with “Isaac’s”, according to the person who came up with the name). What is the background of this small short film with its found footage look that’s so different from the more experimental Gold.? Continue reading

My Desert Films (I): Gold.

Gold. One of my most experimental films, with an introduction by Miles Kreuger.

Deserts hold a special fascination for me. In 2011, a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas sparked my interest in those surroundings. That trip felt magical: Traveling to Las Vegas (receiving an award for my film Mutant Calculator there), and then back to LA for the West Coast Premiere of my film Menschenliebe, it was my very first time in California and Nevada. Watching Mojave desert outside the car’s window – a landscape I had only known from films beforehand – made me feel like I was in an entirely new, fascinating and foreign surrounding. Continue reading

Prügelnde Prinzen und renovierte Paläste

Bei einem Spaziergang in Stettin

Bei einem Spaziergang in Stettin

Ich sitze in Stettin und bin fasziniert. Wie sich – nur durch ein Überschreiten einer Ländergrenze – Ambiente, Atmosphäre; Stadtbilder ändern. Besonders bizarr ist dies bei Stettin, da die Stadt bis 1945 ja deutsch war, und sich demnach vom Stadtbild her nicht so sehr von Städten in Deutschland unterscheiden dürfte. Zur genauen Geschichte des Wiederaufbaus kann ich wenig sagen; ihm sind natürlich viele sozialistisch angehauchte Betongebäude im Stadtbild zu “verdanken”; aber auch ehemals deutsche Gebäude – selbst aufwändig renovierte – fühlen sich beim Betrachten für mich als Teil einer anderen Kultur an. Liegt es an der Umgebung, ist meine Wahrnehmung nur durch die Erwartungshaltung “ich bin in einem anderen Land!” “eingefärbt”? Continue reading

How to start out as a filmmaker

During the past days, I re-organized the archive of my films, going through the raw material of my very first projects I did as a teenager. To me, it was fascinating and brought back a lot of memories of a time when a few friends and I just did every goofy thing on our mind to make weird little comedy films. Back then, we just wanted to do fun films and did not care how “professional” they looked. The “sets” certainly were not professional by any standard. A guy with a camera (not even an external microphone), a few actors making up lines on the spot based on a short script while I directed the scenes… Yet, I probably learned all basics about filmmaking during that time of unlimited experimentation. We did not think of us as “filmmakers” (meaning we didn’t really think of us and our image); we simply were some friends who wanted to create films and enjoyed making them; we just wanted to create the result and didn’t particularly care about the means to get there, how “professional” or “standardized” they were. A time of experimenting and learning.

Klaus Müller and I in Killer-Squirrels (Summer 2008).

Klaus Müller and I in Killer-Squirrels (Summer 2008).

There is an issue Continue reading

Let’s Go To The Place

This song appears in Timeless as an instrumental version. I wrote it specifically for the film, and, while writing, believed it to be one of the most important parts of the film. When editing, though, I used a temporary instrumental version – and liked its effect on the scene a lot better without words. Thus, I never recorded a version with vocals. Here, for the first time, the original lyrics I wrote for the song: Continue reading

Bonnie And Clyde

I wrote the lyrics to this song one evening, on April 21, 2015. I had written the melody much earlier, for a song called “Let’s Go to the Place“, which was supposed to be in my film Timeless also. That latter song ended up in the film as an instrumental version. The idea to modify its melody and use it with the Bonnie and Clyde-Song came later, in September 2015. Originally, I had thought to give this song a more upbeat melody Continue reading

Real Life Comedy


Filming an arts performance that derails into a slapstick scene for “Timeless”.

Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton and Mr. Bean are some of the protagonists of my favorite comedic films. Often, in my daily life, I observe my surroundings, wondering what would happen if they were “mixed up” in slapstick comedy style. Many ideas I thus develop end up in my films. Very often, one of my favorite actors – Sebastian B. – has portrayed my alter ego, being lost in strange, slightly twisted situations. For example, the arts performance scene in Timeless, which I based on a rather bland real life arts performance I observed sometime in 2013… And which becomes a chaotic, funny mess in the film.

But, a while ago, I was in a situation that I will not have to change the slightest bit to put into a film. Continue reading