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Roland Klick - The Heart is a Hungry Hunter

ROLAND KLICK - THE HEART IS A HUNGRY HUNTER (Roland Klick - The Heart is a Hungry Hunter) Sandra Prechtel, D 2013, 80 min

Documentary about one of the most extraordinary directors in the history of German film.

World premiere at Berlinale 2013!

63. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin - Panorama

The gritty, kinetic, visionary cinema of Roland Klick ...

At the age of fourteen Roland Klick was certain: cinema was what his soul was longing for. Filmmaking as an adventure, existential experience and escape from overstructured German post-war reality. The film director as explorer and foreign legionnaire, in search of himself.
Roland Klick, the director of films such as DEADLOCK (with Mario Adorf) and WHITE STAR (with Dennis Hopper) has an exceptional position in German cinema. Maladjusted to the forms of New German Cinema of the 1970s, too imaginative and unconventional for commercial cinema, Klick was marginalized by the critical establishment. Although his films won several German Film Awards, were international acclaimed and achieved cult status, Klick was written out of history. His dystopian punk-rock odysseys, acid-drenched Westerns and youth-oriented crime dramas are now ripe for rediscovery.
ROLAND KLICK - THE HEART IS A HUNGRY HUNTER by Sandra Prechtel (80 min), a documentary about one of the most extraordinary directors in the history of German film, is premiering at the Berlinale 2013.

With Roland Klick, Eva Mattes, Otto Sander, David Hess, Hark Bohm and Jost Vacano

Four questions to Sandra Prechtel

How did you approach Roland Klick? How does one best put his story, his philosophy and his work into a documentary film?
For me, everything started with the first images of the film SUPERMARKT. Watching that, I asked myself how it was possible that I had never heard about this director or his films before. It became clear to me that Roland Klick’s philosophy was very contrary to the Zeitgeist and should consequently be at the heart of my film. During my research, his story became more apparent; it was the story of a man who was obsessed with the arts and always lived and worked on the razor’s edge.

When did you shoot and edit the film? Which aspects of Klick and his work became the most significant for you in the process of making the film?
In January 2011, Frieder Schlaich and I decided to make this film. Frieder Schlaich of the Filmgalerie 451 released Klick’s films on VHS and DVD and made it possible for his work to be revisited and remembered. With the small financial support of 3Sat, we shot between July and September 2011.
Our major question was whether the story should be arranged in a chronological, subject-oriented or more experimental way. We realised that Roland Klick’s life story has had a very classical, suspenseful narrative.
In Roland’s work, there was this hopeful beginning that was followed by initial success. Then came the first struggles with DEADLOCK, the fight to continue work against all odds, followed by complete exhaustion and the final withdrawal from filmmaking. Roland’s films and his protagonists have always been mirror images of his own situation. It became clear that we would have to tell his story through his films. By that we could show what cinema means to him, what his work as a director looked like and what moral implications every frame revealed. In the editing room, we realised that you get so strongly pulled into the story that all you want to know is what happens next.

Compared with Roland Klick’s films, your documentary has a softer tone. This echoes in the way the film is shot, edited, narrated and scored. What lead you to this form?
The best compliment we’ve received about the form of the film was from Roland himself. He said he liked the way he turned out so feminine in the film. His observation is true, because you can easily see a feminine side not only in Klick but also in most of his characters, despite all the violence he portrays. The weird thing is that I am usually very sensitive to on-screen violence, but in Roland’s films I find it bearable. The violence is comitted by people whose passion and desperation and anger I can feel and understand. But what I always like best is the strange poetry in Roland’s films, like the one scene in DEADLOCK between Kid and Jessie where it’s all about mirrors and sunbeams.
And then there is a melancholic side to me that is also part of Roland’s story. The music I use is inspired by Roland’s own scores like those of BÜBCHEN or SUPERMARKT. Another inspiration was Thomas Imbachs DAY IS DONE and Balz Bachmann’s score, which I loved, and which has the same ‘70’s feel to it. I knew from the very beginning that I wanted him to make the music for the film. The music is supposed to reflect Roland as a person with all the melancholy that I see in him.

Is there something in particular that you want the audience to get out of your film?
An interest in Roland Klick’s films of course. The strong feelings, the longing for strong feelings, the lust for life and love.

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Press Coverage

Enthusiastically received at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Sandra Prechtel’s new documentary takes us on a fascinating journey of re-discovery through the work of a director whose vision and talent was strangely out of tune with the context in which he worked. “He was a dreamer inside a German – not an easy thing to be!” recalls actor David Hess about Roland Klick, in whose 1983 film White Star he played. Yet, as Prechtel’s filmic portrait of the maverick director reveals, Klick learned to take his defeats with humour and has lost nothing of his enthusiasm for the cinema. With excerpts from Klick’s films, interviews with the director and comments from actors such as Eva Mattes and Otto Sander or colleagues such as Hark Bohm, the documentary not only provides a compelling introduction to Klick’s work, but also gives great insights into the fortunes and hazards of the film business. (Cambridge Film Festival and Goethe Institute press release 9.2013)

Awards and Festivals