|Darsteller||Helge Schneider, Heiner Müller, Galina Antoschewskaja, Peter Berling|
|Verleih||Rapid Eye Movies|
This is an auteur film—like the ones I made in the past. At the same time the film features the extraordinary young director Khavn de la Cruz from Manila and his work “The fleeting Life of an Ember.” Taken together, the result is a music film of a special kind.
At heart, the film concerns electric light, the circus, the song “Blue Moon,” and street wars among children’s gangs in North Manila, a wilderness otherwise inaccessible to western eyes. “Blue Moon,” the song once identified with the voice of Elvis Presley, refers to a phase of the moon that might never actually appear: just as things can often go with love. But sometimes “never” comes to pass.
We see how the circus comes to town with the appearance of President Trump at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg in 2017; we see how the street wars of the children in Manila run on for years; Helge Schneider appears as a “human light snake” as in Edison’s “Annabelle: Serpentine Dance” from 1895; my friend the dramatist Heiner Müller philosophizes about the moon; we hear a musical requiem for commodities that lie unpurchased on Saturday; we see the dramatic evacuation of a circus in Russia that tries to save its elephants as it flees from the German tanks in 1941; the peaceful grooming of elephants in the early morning stands in contrast to a world that is increasingly savage (in German: “wild”); the poet Ann Cotten appears in the role of King Kong—that cinematic hero who defends what he loves to the death. This motif, with which the film comes to an end, is an adaption of my book Kong’s Big Moment: Chronicle of Coherence. The images that one sees in this sequence are filmed through glass panels made by the artist Kerstin Braetsch in New York.
Elephants already appeared as prominent characters in my film “Artists at the Top of the Big Top: Perplexed” when it premiered in Venice fifty years ago. Here too, in the film “Happy Lamento,” we find elephants, circus, and freedom as central concerns. But how violent these images seem when we compare them with those from another world fifty years ago!
The film is a production of my company Kairos Film, Munich, in cooperation with the young distributors and “pearl divers” of Rapid Eye Movies, Cologne—who also brought me together with Khavn de la Cruz.