• Datum 16-01-2014
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Year Now

Great words my friends: 3000 years, playgrounds,
safe havens and cinematic utopias
no facts & figures, no economics & industry,
but pulse and heartbeat…
this must be a dream, my friends
this must be German philosophy

And all this in just 500 words…
It’s cold in my kitchen now, the wind is blowing through the blowy crossbar
december wind
this must be a dream: it’s the year 3000
I am the servant of a Chinese merchant,
and I serve him well on his rooftop-flat here in Schwabing, the capital of Western-China.

We speak about the ruins
down there, under the clouds,
the ruins of 2013, the ruins of German Cinema
Who is afraid of the vinegar-syndrome?
the old films may taste sour now
but the new ones have no taste at all

The films die out of age,
they die, they say due to a chemical reaction
but only this can die what used to live before
The old films die,
and it seems like material is stronger than ideas
— but perhaps the old films die just out of shame

Could we eat movies?
Are they poisonous?
There was a time I used to eat films every day
slow days of slow life, slow money, slow phonelines
but the films where not slow at all
what happened to cinema when phone booths disappeared from it?

December is the cruelest month,
breeding nightmares out of solemnity
Servants are teachers now
They teach the merchant’s children
They spoil them, make them sensitive
receptive, poison them with art

They appreciate teachers now
as they used to in Rome with their Greeks
Then they used to dislike teaching, preaching, facility, mastery
"2013, unlucky number", my master says, "the year of the snake"
Metropolis, Mabuse, Nosferatu, Caligari, Pandora
great names, much greater than any name that came after them

If there is a Berliner Schule — are they the scholars or the teachers?
If there is a Nouvelle Vague Allemande — where, oh Poseidon, is the ocean?
If there is a German Western — where, oh Winnetou, have the horses gone?
I remember some gold, but it was neither Klondike nor Nibelungen, just the hair of Nina Hoss
I remember a dark world, rich pupils with their teacher in a concentration camp,
than an oven as if it were a tale by the Brothers Grimm, but it was just a Finsterworld

actors playing artificial people, non-actors playing real people, writers playing directors,
filmmakers playing art
Maybe they play much too much, maybe they play because
they do not want to grow up
my dream is becoming a nightmare now
and I awake

What you are asking me for, I cannot serve you, friends. Just
a strange little cat;
the tigers died long before, not even one left, just desert and hyena
this must be a dream, my friends, this must be German philosophy
but the cat is there, living, active, playful, and at least with a tiger-pelt
tentative on its velvet paws.

Rüdiger Suchsland is a freelance film critic and programmer and contributes to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Film-Dienst and, among others