Friday, 27 August 2010

Peter Weiss - 2

A recently-published dissertation by the Swedish filmographer Jan Christer Bengtsson gives a fascinating inside view of the creative personality of Peter Weiss. Focused on Weiss's work for the cinema, the dissertation examines Weiss's career in chronological sequence, but is not limited solely to the films: Weiss's literary work and painting are also considered in detail in the course of this extensive treatment, and numerous interviews are cited and quoted.

Bengtsson places Weiss within the context of postwar European - specifically Swedish and German - cinema, He proceeds from an analysis of Weiss's early short films of the 1950s (many of them utilizing surrealist techniques), through the documentaries and officially commissioned work all the way to the less well-known full-length film projects of Weiss's later years, including Hölderlin and the collaboration with Francisco Javier Uriz involving the latter's screen version of the Spanish Civil War section of the first volume of The Aesthetics of Resistance.

Of particular interest are the links to a 1961 German television interview (Berlin stellt vor, in which Weiss is interviewed by the literary critic Walter Höllerer (the links are here and here), and Bengtsson's own consideration of The Studio of Doctor Faust (1956), which as Weiss's English-language Wikipedia entry states, "shows a persisting link of the emigrant Weiss to a German cultural background."

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