Sunday, October 21, 2012

Karl May (1976)

Second of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's triptych fantasias on the German psyche, Karl May is the most normal of the three films. Set for the most part in the real world without an over reliance on the tableaus that haunt the other two films (yesterday's Ludwig and the earlier reviewed Hitler:A Film From Germany), Karl May is the story of a dreamer who’s stories finally catch up with him.

May was a prolific and extremely popular who wrote about the American wild west, the Orient and elsewhere without ever visiting the places. When in later years he finally started to visit some of the places he wrote about he began to have breakdowns and alter what he was writing to match the reality.

The film concerns May in his later life. All of the fanciful stories he told finally began to catch up with him and the personal myth of May began to unravel in a series of law suits for misreprentations of his life and for plagerism.

The most normal of the films it is in its way the least interesting. Blame it on Syberberg's straightforward approach, which kind of reduces things to being unremarkable reality which the bookend films didn't have. I suspect that is the point with Mays fanciful life being shown real where s the reality of Ludwig and Hitler had to be flopped into unreality. It’s not a bad film, it is in fact quite good and raises lots of questions about personal reality and how people believe whats in novels. On the other hand it’s not quite as challenging as the films that bookend it and when it came time to start the second DVD of the film I delayed. I got back to it a couple days later, but I was in no rush.

Definitely worth seeing especially if you’re seeing the other two films in the series.

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