DOCUMENTARIES, STAGE, MUSIC, SHORTS, OPERAS (1970-2007)

 

 

2003 - 2006       BAGDAD CAFÉ – THE MUSICAL

                        Based on Bagdad Café the film, the musical was written in 2003 by Percy and Eleonore Adlon, music by Bob Telson, additional lyrics by Lee Breuer. It premiered in Barcelona in 2004, toured in France in 2005, and was  shown in Paris and on a second French tour in 2006.

 

2004                 WOLKENSTEIN

                        A new opera by Wilfried Hiller and Felix Mitterer, directed by Percy Adlon. Premiere at the State Opera Nürnberg .

 

2003                 ELISIR D’AMORE

                       opera by Gaetano Donizetti, directed by Percy Adlon for the Berlin State Opera Unter den    Linden.

 

2005                 KOENIGS ARCHE NOAH

Koenig shows Percy Adlon his new exhibition, a   fascinating composition of his own work with African art, Bavarian folklore, and world art.

 

2002                 KOENIG ZEICHNET / KOENIG DRAWS

79 minutes of an almost uncut observation of Koenig’s spontaneous drawing  process.

 

2002                 KOENIGS KUGEL / KOENIG’S SPHERE

Der deutsche Bildhauer Fritz Koenig im Trümmerfeld von Ground Zero / The German Sculptor F.K.

 

2000                 GETTING READY IN TOPANGA   

Goethe – Werther – Eisermann  

performance/DOCU (German 58’)

 

1999                 MEIN MÜNCHEN  

in meiner Heimatstadt, damals und heute (German, 88’)

(MY MUNICH – in my home town then and today)

 

Flashbacks of my hometown while living at the Pacific. The Oktoberfest of today, the American soldiers in our bombed-out town, my first TV job…the memory pool dishes up whatever it fancies.

 

1998                 GANSLBERGER JAHRESZEIT  

In der Welt von Fritz und Maria Koenig (German, 44’)

(GANSLBERG SEASON – In the world of Fritz and Maria Koenig)

 

A visit at Fritz and Maria Koenig’s Bavarian estate makes you addicted for life. He is one of the most important sculptors of our time. His most prominent work is the huge fountain globe between the buildings of the world trade center in New York City

 

1997                 MAESTRO IN HOLLYWOOD  

Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic

(English w German subtitles, 58’)

 

1996                 MANN VOR WILDER LANDSCHAFT  

Tomi Ungerer in Irland (German, 58’)

(MAN IN FRONT OF A WILD LANDSCAPE –Tomi Ungerer in Ireland)

 

1985                 *STEIN IN BAMBERG

Horst Stein und die Bamberger Symphoniker (German, 44’)

(STEIN IN BAMBERG – Horst Stein and the Bamberg Symphony)

 

1984                 *WOLFGANG WAGNER   

Herr der Ringe (German, 44’)

(WOLFGANG WAGNER – Master of the Rings)

 

A portrait of the much discussed “emperor” of Bayreuth

 

1982                 *RAFAEL KUBELIK –  Eine Begegnung

(German, 73’) RAFAEL KUBELIK -  An Encounter

 

Rafael Kubelik rehearses and conducts Haydn's Mass of St. Cecilia,

and talks about music and musicians on a stroll through the cloister museum in Ottobeuren

 

1982                 FLUCHTWEGE EINES FRIEDLIEBENDEN MANNES  

LEONARD FRANK (German, 43’ )

(FLIGHT ROUTES OF A PEACE LOVING MAN – LEONARD FRANK)

 

We follow the novelist on the (in)famous route of many Jewish emigrants through France, Spain, Portugal to the harbor of Lisbon in order to catch the “last” boat. (1939)

 

1982                 DER KELLNER

German, 43’)

(THE WAITER)

 

Just a waiter…  

 

1980                 TIM ROLLERSKATER

(German, 43’)

 

My first visit to my chosen hometown, Los Angeles, resulted in a portrait of a roller skater in Venice.

 

1980                 IM HAUS DES AFFENMALERS GABRIEL MAX

(German, 44’)

(IN THE HOUSE OF THE APE PAINTER GABRIEL MAX)

 

Adlon recounts the life of the painter Gabriel Max (1840 - 1915) who went on to amass an enormous anthropological collection. Fascinated by monkeys, he acquired them and made them the subject of his art, and the object of his heart, creating monkey-men and human-monkeys. Through the friendship with the painters son, Colombo Max, the director documents the story of this eccentric and spiritual man  raised in the shadow of this imposing figure.

 

Cinematography - Jürgen Martin.

Editing - Clara Fabry

 

1979                 WIR SIND BABYLON

Tomi Ungerer und der Horror unserer Welt (German, 44’)

(WE ARE BABYLON – Tomi Ungerer and the horror of our world)

 

This is my third film about this amazing draftsman.

 

1979                 *UNTERHALTUNG AM KOFFER

Karajans Orchesterdiener Heinz Bartlog  (German, 58’)

(CONVERSATION BY THE SUITCASE – Karajan's Orchestra Attendant)

 

It was not easy to get maestro Karajan’s permission to make a film about his orchestra attendant Heinz Bartlog. Not because Herr v. Karajan didn’t like the project, he couldn’t understand that not he was the center of my attention.

 

1979                 ICH WEISS NICHT WER ICH BIN – FINDELKINDER

(German, 43’)

(I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM – FOUNDLINGS)

 

During and after World War II, many children were found in shoeboxes in ditches. The question ‘who they are’ determines their entire beings…

1979                 * EIN MUSIKERLEBEN 12 m 60  

Franz Lachners “Lebensrolle” von Ludwig von Schwind

(German, 59’)

(A MUSICIAN’S LIFE 12 METERS AND 60 – Franz Lachner’s “Life Roll” by Ludwing von Schwind)

 

Composer Franz Lachner's life as depicted in a 36 foot cartoon scroll by his friend, the famous romantic painter, Moritz von Schwind.

 

1979                 NEBENBEI HAUPTSÄCHLICH RÖSSER  

der Bildhauer Fritz Koenig (German, 44’)

(ON THE SIDE MAINLY HORSES – The sculptor Fritz Koenig)

 

My first film about the Bavarian sculptor whose Arabian horses seem more important to him than his work.

 

1978                 DER ECHTE LILIOM

ein Schaukelburschenleben (German, 44’)

(THE REAL LILIOM)

 

A few days in the life of a merry-go-round helper. In and out of jail, in and out of luck, bread, friends, hope…

 

1978                 WITWEN

Bemerkungen zu einem verdrängten Problem (German, 44’)

(WIDOWS – Remarks on a suppressed problem)

 

1978                 *FIDIRALLALA  

Besuch bei Roger Siffer (1978, in German, 58’)

(FIDIRALLALA - A visit at Roger Siffer’s)

 

A burlesque day in the life of the Alsacian songwriter Roger Siffer)

 

1978                 GERMAN TOWN, JAMAICA

(German, 44’)

 

In the early 19th century some shiploads of Germans whom land and wealth were promised, immigrated to Jamaica. They built this town, cut of the thicket of the jungle. Their descendents are still living there in poverty and haunted by hereditary diseases.  

 

1977                 FLORA INNSBRUCK HUNGERBURG  

Porträt Paul Flora (German, 44’)

(FLORA INNSBRUCK HUNGERBURG - Portrait Paul Flora)

 

His black ink drawings look like spider webs. They  were among the most wanted collectibles of the German/Austrian art scene.  

 

1977                 DIE BILEK

der Herr Hirnbeiss lebt am Hofbräuhaus (German, 44’)

(THE BILEK – Herr Hirnbeiss lives by the Hofbräuhaus)

 

Much loved draftswoman Franziska Bilek had a daily cartoon of a typical retired Munich beer-drinker with his dachshund and his complaints about everything that matter

 

1977                 TAXIFAHRER

(German, 44’)

(CAB DRIVERS)

 

Cabdrivers’ yarn.

 

1977                 DAS SINDBADSPIEL DES FREIHERRN VON RITTINGER

(German, 44’)

(THE SINDBAD GAME OF THE BARON VON RITTINGER )

 

An eccentric hobby artist and his hilarious travels on a game board painted  imaginary and real wonders of our world.

 

1977                 LICHTENBERG

ein deutscher Farmer in Südwestafrika (German, 43’)

(LICHTENBERG - A German Farmer in Southwest Africa)

 

 

1977                 FRÄULEIN ANNETTE KOLB

Porträt einer couragierten Dichterin  (German, 44’)

(MISS ANNETTE KOLB – portrait of a courageous poet)

 

It is right after the war of 1870. Annette Kolb was born to a pianist and her Bavarian landscape architect husband in Munich. She grew up to be so French and, at the same time, so German that she is neither one or the other, but both. She wants to be a conductor, but her political ideas pull her towards literature, and she becomes a writer advocating unions between France and Germany. In 1915, Annette Kolb gives her first Pacifist speech. The naive writer is shouted down, and the world is exiled. The extravagant, witty, melancholy, unattached loner takes shape: Annette Kolb. She goes on to write the beautiful novel THE SWING, a diary, ZARASTRO, KING LUDWIG II OF BAVARIA AND RICHARD WAGNER, and others. Her books become critical successes, praised by the likes of Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse and other great writers. Never a best selling author, Annette Kolb becomes something more important - an original.

 

Cinematography - Jürgen Martin

Editing - Clara Fabry

 

1976                 DER ORIENTALISCHE SCHLAMMINGER

                        (German, 44’)

(THE ORIENTAL SCHLAMMINGER)

 

A tall, red haired German art student in Munich, follows his fiancée, a Persian almond eyed beauty, to Teheran, learns Persian like a local, builds the most beautiful wooden house, and becomes a professor for architectural design at the Teheran University.

 

1976                 DER VOGEL UND DER JÄGER

eine Reise mit dem Pantomimen Samy Molcho (German, 58’)

(THE BIRD AND THE HUNTER  – A journey with the pantomime Samy Molcho)

 

A journey from Vienna to Israel with Samy Molcho whose parents, Spanish Jews, live in Tel Aviv.

 

1976                 ROLLWENZELS BUNTE STEINE

(German, 43’)

(ROLLWENZEL’S MOTTLED STONES)

 

A Lutheran priest has an obsession with fossils and petrifactions while his wife suffers from the fact that all drawers in her house are all filled with stones.

 

1975/76             *DER TÄNZER HEINZ BOSL

(German, 44’)

(THE DANCER HEINZ BOSL)

 

The film begins in slow motion with a piece of bravura - the variation in the second act of “Giselle”- shot during the rehearsals of this romantic ballet in October of 1974, eight month before the death of Bosl. Prince Albert was going to be his final role. Only his mother and his doctor knew that he was dying of cancer. Heinz Bosl never knew. Through recollections, including those of Margot Fonteyn two years after the death of the star dancer who was, in the late sixties and early seventies, one of the most fascinating personalities of the classical ballet.

 

Cinematography - Rudolf Kleinjung, Horst Lerner

 

“For the slow motion sequence something went wrong with the light. The film footage flickered terribly. But after his death it looked like a symbol of his short and fragile dream of life.” Percy Adlon

 

Los Angeles Times - Special Screenings

 

THE DANCER HEINZ BOSL (DOCUMENTARY)

By Kevin Thomas

 

When Adlon filmed Bosl for one of the series of 15-minute tnterview-portraits the director made for Bavarian television in the early 70’s, he had no idea that the dancer wa only eight months from his death at 28 from bone cancer; quite possibly, Bosl did not know either, for his mother decided that he should not be told he was fatally ill.  To commemorate the first anniversary of the dancer’s death, Adlon augmented his original portrait with more footage of the dancer in performance and with interviews of those closest to him.

 

You do not have to be a balletomane to realize that the tall, gentle-looking Bosl was a dancer of extraordinary grace, a man who combined a formidable, seemingly effortless technique with great strength.  His youth, dedication, unpretentiousness, sense of humor and dazzling talent make him a poignant, heart-breaking figure.  His partners, including Margot Fonteyn, adored and admired him;  his financee’, the vibrant Margot Werner, a character dancer, who tries to console herself by saying “He was spared growing old in a career for young people.”

 

1975                 *KNAPPERTSBUSCH

Ein Porträt post mortem (German, 44’)

(KNAPPERTSBUSCH – A portrait post mortem of the great “Kna” whose slow tempi and his preference of the brass section was legendary.

 

1975                 TACAMBARO

Der deutsche Komponist/Pianist Gerhart Muench in Mexico

(The German composer/pianist Gerhart Muench in Mexico)

 

Sometimes a man’s life takes its shape as much from the things he wants to escape as from the things he loves. Gerhart Muencch was a musical prodigy, giving concerts in his hometown, Dresden 12. His father wanted his son to be another Mozart, and the son rebelled. The day after he received his high school diploma, he left his parents house without saying good-bye. A period of travel followed. He avoided other musicians, but took up with other like-minded artists. He married. The war interrupted everyone’s lives. After it came a disillusioning period in Henry Miller’s Big Sur artist’s colony, and finally exile to  Mexico. Tacambaro, the land of the exile, became a true home. In Tacambaro one can never be as famous as Rubenstein, but one can be as happy.

 

Cinematography - Horst Lerner

Editing - Gitta Althof

 

In German with English subtitles, 43 min.

 

“When we arrived in Tacambarro, and the sound engineer, a German television employee, saw his room, he turned on the spot and said, ‘I have to refuse.’ Light years away from any Hilton, it became our slogan for the entire shoot.” Percy Adlon

 

1975                 JEAN PAUL  

Phantasiestück über ein fränkisches Genie (German, 44’)

(JEAN PAUL - Fantasy piece on a Franconian genius)

 

Jean-Paul (1763-1825),  was not French but a celebrated Bavarian poet and humorist, a hard-drinking, hard-working eccentric who espoused anti-war sentiments and commented wryly on the battle of the sexes.  He was once Germany’s best know and widely read humorist and writer. An imaginative portrait that carefully re-creates the workroom where this inveterate beer drinker, bon-vivant and ladies’ man drew admiration and shock from his contemporaries.  Adlon made the film to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his death.

 

Cinematography - Paul Teufl

 

“When I saw this one again after fifteen years, I discovered that I had used the Arabesque  by Robert Schumann the same way I usedCalling You  in BAGDAD CAFE... that is, over and over again.” Percy Adlon

 

1975                 *IM SCHÖNSTEN WIESENGRUNDE

Tomi Ungerers grosses deutsches Liederbuch (German, 58’)

(Tomi Ungerer’s great German Songbook)

 

Draftsman Tomi Ungerer fantasizes about his romantic illustrations of German folk songs, “Das grosse deutsche Liederbuch”. Musicians and singers perform in an old Bavarian farm house.

 

1974                 MANN UND FRAU IM GEHÄUSE

Alfred und Gisela Andersch (German, 44’)

(MAN AND WIFE IN THE SHELL – Alfred and Gisela Andersch)  

 

The writer Alfred Andersch and his wife Gisela, a Bauhaus artist, lived in a stone house in Berzona, Ticino…While his publisher was waiting for Andersch to finish a new novel, Andersch enjoyed working in his garden.

 

1974                 VATI

ein deutscher Neonfummler in Haiti (German, 44’)

(VATI - A German neon-fiddler in Haiti)

 

Vati makes neon signs and nobody bothers him about how he does it. That’s what he calls freedom - freedom in Haiti, his adopted country. His legal name is Erhard Eberwein. He was born in Saxony. He fought at Stalingrad and was taken prisoner. After the war he returned home, sold what was left of his parents business and became a dealer in fine china. Soon he traded the china for an ocean-going sailing ship. He follows Columbus’ route to the New World. He leaves his wife and son and takes the ship to Haiti in an attempt to sell it for much needed capital: the means to a new life. He never returns. His wife divorces him in his absence. His son turns up in Haiti with a sign around his neck, calling out “Vati, Vati, Daddy, Daddy)”! Eberwein acquires his new name and new life from that moment on.

 

Cinematography - Willy Dobos

Editing - Sabine Heidenberger

 

In German with English subtitles, 43 min.

 

“With Vati I started my theme with Germans in other countries, Germans like Jasmin in BAGDAD CAFE, which are far from the cliché of being aggressive, slick and precise like BMW’.”

 

1973                 TOMI UNGERERS LANDLEBEN

(German, 44’)

(TOMI UNGERER’S COUNTRY LIFE)

 

Tomi Ungerer comes from an Alsatian watchmaker family. At 26, he became one of New York’s most popular and eccentric artists. After 70 books and thousands of cartoons in fifteen turbulent years, he left the “plastic society” and began a new life on a farm in Nova Scotia accompanied by his beautiful wife Yvonne. In this unique mix of German, French and English, he talks about his new love, the powerful nature of the Canadian coast, and reveals his wild character from which nightmares and laughter erupt into a constant stream of images.

 

Cinematography - Horst Lerner

Editing - Sabine Heidenberger

 

1970 – 79         MEIN DORF

(22 films of ca.15’)

(MY VILLAGE )

How is life in the seventies in a Bavarian village? For each village, just one man, or woman or child is followed around for a few days of their  life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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