Metropolen des Leichtsinns

Thomas Draschan

Metropolen des Leichtsinns uses found footage to consider the possibilities of human experience. (RLFF, London) Metropolis of Recklessness starts out with a trip that becomes a journey into film itself. After the appearance of some self-referential and sexy china girls, some people feel animated to have intercourse, but remain completely out of focus. Intercourse leads to cell-sectioning & birthgiving and a release into space. Being born one may ask "what should I become" (in the german original: was soll ich werden, written on a wheel), the filmmakers answer that pretty realistically with someone blowing his head away. The hit of the bullet in the head triggers beautiful visual effects, which as well refer to death and decay, and therefore justify the decision. The film then shows various oportunities of how someone could spend his life. But somehow all efforts seem to be in vain and everything is running empty... On the making:

I always had the longing to work with found footage, but did not consider anything in specific until I met Ulrich Wiesner. At this time I was working on an archive for the best works by former students of Peter Kubelka in Frankfurt. My aim was to make internegatives of the films that were done on reversal with magnetic sound and thus protecting them from decay. The last person missing on my list was Ulrich Wiesner, who was more or less living underground as a painter, using the name Max Franz. Another friend of ours who just had started a new Gallery in Frankfurt was preparing an exhibition with him and so we met for the first time around 1998. Around this time I saw for the first time two of his films "Afrika Bonus" and "Deutschland Lacht" on VHS. Wiesner had no idea where the originals were, so he brought to me everything that looked like film or a film can, also giving me permission to use the footage. I had the idea we should work together, which we started to do some time around 1999, after his exhibition. After a while we also found part of his films, "Afrika Bonus"; the parody on Kubelkas Afrikareise, but without soundtrack (which I reconstructed later, still remaining a little unsatisfied by the result). "Deutschland Lacht" was complete. Soon we had the feeling we would need more material than Wiesner had in his collection, so we started to buy footage like maniacs, mostly on the internet and from private people. This was rather difficult, as we were both completely broke, Wiesner had serious financial troubles, he had not sold anything for a while and had quite some depth at his bank... Finally we got the film accomplished and had a hard time getting an internegative because the material was so worn, that every lab refused to do it. Norbert Schliewe, a German filmmaker did it on an old Krass Optical printer, the film broke so many times, we thought, we will never make it... After all that, we sent the film to Sixpack, who refused to accept this film, which as they said left them speechless, so bad it was in their opinion, they told me, I did make nothing with the material, just quoting it... Also the first festival (except frankfurt, where we showed the terrible first print with out of sync sound which made it a very bad screening) where we tried to enter: "Diagonale" in Austria, refused to show the film. This hit us hard, we had spent almost 2 years of work, all our money and ideas, everything we had we had put into this film. I always had promised Wiesner that it would really become a huge success. Wiesner who was a heavy drunk, had quit drinking during the work on metropols, and was ready for a comeback. Immediately after the Metropols we started with another film, where he brought the song on a tape with no details, so I do not know who sung this version. Immediately after the Metropols we started with another film, where Wiesner provided the soundtrack: La Poupee by Michelle Poinareff, but in a cover version. He brought the song on a tape with no details, so I do not know who sang this version. The last time we worked on the film, which is now being called "Yes? Oui? Ja?" together was in the beginning of Dez. 2000, Wiesner was in a terrible condition at this time and we had to stop after two or three hours of work because he was so exhausted. After a rapid decay of his health which was a mistery to everybody and thus even more terrifying, Ulrich Max Franz Wiesner died February 2001 from cancer which was only found out through autopsy, the disease remained undiscovered until his deathI could not look at any of our found footage for quite a while and after I could turn to it again, the making of Yes Qui Ja was very much overshadowed by the death of my friend Wiesner. So instead of some kind of "visual easy listening" as we intended it turned out as somethin rather different. There were two basic principles we wanted to make use of: The redundant illustration of the words being sung and the correspondece of one image to the next. The editing also should go along with the rhythm, we chose the baseline as the primary source for that. This puts emphasis on specific changes in the image, so they will be looked at as something that should be put into consideration as something meaningful. It is always in question if one achieves his goals in live or if he/she will not, whatever it may be, this is what "Yes? Qui? Ja?" is about. I may add that in his first self portrait, Ulrich Wiesner has portrayed himself in a Tarzan outfit.

A devilish deconstruction of our pre-programmed post-war lives as Western consumers. Submerging, cell-sectioning, disk-shooting, curve-taking, light-dazzling, earth-shattering, motion-stopping. This film is constructed using a collection of about 500 different 16 mm films, mostly educational shorts, some TV serials, some features, lots of advertising. It starts with a journey into film itself, followed by love making, birth, suicide and almost any humanly possible occupation. A devilish deconstruction of our pre-programmed post-war lives as occidental individuals. (IFFR, Rotterdam)