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Filmmaker's Tour 2008: Rainer SimonRainer Simon

Acclaimed (East) German director Rainer Simon will visit North America from September to November 2008.  Most of Simon's films were never subtitled, so we are currently trying to make available as many films with English subtitles as possible.  So far, the film tour program includes six feature films and three documentaries.  For more information, please contact Hiltrud at video [at] german.umass.edu.

Tour Dates
Biography & Filmography

Available Films
Film Programming Ideas
Publications & Books
Photos
Poster
Press

Tour Dates

September 17 – 20 University of Waterloo / Wilfried Laurier University
September 21 – 23 York University
September 24 – 28 Queen’s University
October 1 – 3 Bishop’s University
October 8 – 11 University of Rochester
October 12 – 15 University of Wisconsin-Madison
October 16 – 18 University of Iowa
October 19 – 21 Illinois Wesleyan University
October 22 – 25 Kansas State University / University of Missouri - Kansas City
October 26 – 28 University of Dallas – Irving
Oct 29 – Nov 1 Goethe-Institut Washington D.C.
November 2 - 4 Dickinson College
November 5 – 7 University of Scranton
November 11 Deutsches Haus at New York University
November 13 – 15 University of Connecticut  – Storrs
November 16 – 17 Connecticut College - New London
November 18 College of the Holy Cross / Worcester Polytechnic Institute
November 19 Mt. Holyoke College / University of Massachusetts Amherst
November 20 Amherst College / University of Massachusetts Amherst
November 21 – 23 University of Massachusetts Amherst
November 24 – 25 Middlebury College


Biography and Filmography


Rainer Simon started his career at the East German DEFA film studios in 1965, working as an assistant director under Ralf Kirsten (The Lost Angel, 1966) and Konrad Wolf (I Was Nineteen, 1967). Simon made his directing debut in 1968, with the children’s film How to Marry a King. His major films include: Till Eulenspiegel (1975), based on a film script by Christa and Gerhard Wolf; The Airship (1983); The Woman and the Stranger (1984), which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival; and Jadup and Boel (1981), which was banned by officials and not released until 1988. Since shooting The Ascent of the Chimborazo (1989) in Ecuador, Simon’s work has focused on the life and culture of the indigenous people of Ecuador. Also known as a documentarist, writer and photographer, Simon teaches film workshops for young filmmakers in Ecuador.

Selected Filmography

2002        The Call of Fayu Ujmu (Der Ruf des Fayu Ujmu) (Doc)
1998/99    Talking with Fish and Birds (Mit Fischen und Vögeln reden) (Doc)
1994        The Colors of Tigua (Die Farben von Tigua) (TV, Doc)
1993        Far Away Country Pa-ish (Fernes Land Pa-isch)
1990        The Case Oe (Der Fall Ö)
1989        The Ascent of the Chimborazo (Die Besteigung des Chimborazo)
1986        Wengler&Sons, A Legend (Wengler & Söhne. Eine Legende)
1984        The Woman and the Stranger (Die Frau und der Fremde)
1983        The Airship (Das Luftschiff)
1981        Jadup and Boel (Jadup und Boel)
1978        Set a Fire – The Fire-brigade Is Coming (Zünd an, es kommt die Feuerwehr)
1975        Till Eulenspiegel
1972        Six Go around the World (Sechse kommen durch die Welt)
1968        How to Marry a King (Wie heiratet man einen König)

Available Films
(Last updated on March 10, 2008)

Feature Films

Till Eulenspiegel
East Germany, 1974, 100 min., color

In medieval Germany, the poor, witty, and rebellious trickster Till Eulenspiegel (Winfried Glatzeder) fools and cheats citizens, churchmen, and landlords. Although he is mostly concerned with his own interests, he also often helps the poor and weak. Eventually, he becomes the royal fool at the emperor’s court – an influential but dangerous position. The original script, written by Christa and Gerhard Wolf and planned as a two-part feature film, was ignored by officials for financial and political reasons. Rainer Simon was asked to re-write the script, but the production process which followed was dogged by censorship. Although officials tried to keep a low profile for the film when it was finally released, audiences welcomed it with overwhelming enthusiasm.
Rental Format: DVD with English subtitles

Jadup and Boel (Jadup und Boel)Jadup und Boel
East Germany, 1981, 100 min., color

In a small town, everyone has tried to forget what happened shortly after WWII. That is, until a stranger finds a book that Jadup (Kurt Böwe) gave to the young refugee Boel (Katrin Knappe) over 30 years ago.  Painful memories about Boel and the time after the war begin to surface and shake up the whole town; Boel vanished back then and nobody knew why. Word spread about a rape and some tried to blame a Russian soldier for it. Jadup, the town's respected and popular mayor,  remembers though, how he mistrusted Boel and did not help her at all during this difficult time. And that he didn't even notice how much Boel loved him. Jadup's confrontation with the past gives him a new, critical view of his current situation and surroundings. Originally censored and later banned by GDR officials from being too controversial, Jadup and Boel was not released until 1988.
Rental Format: DVD with English subtitles

The Airship (Das Luftschiff)Luftschiff6
East Germany, 1982, 105 min., color

Franz Xavier Stannebein, a small child at the turn of the 20th-century, wants to do nothing more than fly. He carries this dream through his years at an orphanage and into adulthood as a merchant in Spain, and eventually invests everything he has into his own version of an airship. Later he meets some industrialists in Germany who want to support his idea; they ask him to build an airfield in Spain. When he sees the Nazis use the field during the Spanish Civil War, however, he feels betrayed and goes to Germany to protest. Here, he is thrown into an insane asylum. After the war, his grandson learns that his grandfather was a victim of a Nazi euthanasia program. Based on the novel by Fritz Rudolf Fries.
Rental Format: 35mm and DVD with English subtitles

 

The Woman and the Stranger (Die Frau und der Fremde)Woman and the Stranger
East Germany, 1984, 98 min., color

Karl and Richard, two German soldiers captured by the Russians in World War I, become very close friends. Richard shares intimate stories about his wife Anna, and Karl falls in love with her in his thoughts. One day, Karl escapes and goes to Richard's home, where he poses as Richard and seeks refuge. Anna knows that he is not her husband, but she wonders at all he knows about her. Although she tries to resist Karl’s love at first, she feels a growing love for him. Then, one day, Richard returns. Based on the novel by Leonhard Frank, this film was awarded the Golden Bear at the 1985 Berlin Film Festival.
Rental Format: DVD with English subtitles
Trailer Available!
http://www.defa-spektrum.de/?Verleih/Filme-DieFrauUndDerFremde


Wengler & Sons, A Legend (Wengler & Söhne. Eine Legende)Wengler
East Germany, 1986, 139 min., color

This film tells a story spanning three generations, from 1871 to 1945. After the farmer’s son, Gustav Wengler, returns from the Franco-German war in 1871, he goes to work in a precision mechanics and optical company. He soon becomes a master craftsman; he is loyal and devoted to this company and promises his director on his deathbed that his sons and grandchildren will also stand by the company. At last, the time comes for his talented grandson Paul to honor this promise and join the company. In the meantime, however, the company has gained a worldwide reputation and supports the Third Reich. Although Paul is skeptical about the Nazi leadership, he continues working for the company. When he sees the company destroyed during the war, old Gustav Wengler realizes his family is responsible for the turn the country has taken.
Rental Format: 35mm and DVD with English subtitles



The Ascent of the Chimborazo (Die Besteigung des Chimborazo)
East Germany, 1989, 96 min., color

In 1802, the young Alexander von Humboldt led a scientific expedition to the Chimborazo in Ecuador, thought to be the highest mountain in the world and never before climbed. At great risk to his own life, as well as those of his companions – the French doctor and botanist, Aimé Bonpland, and the local créole aristocrat, Carlos Montúfar – Humboldt carefully measures and documents flora, fauna, soil, rocks, water, and the air itself. They survive snow, cold, and the thin mountain air and explore regions that no European had seen before. But it is his encounters with the indigenous people of Ecuador that deeply fascinate him. He explores their culture and language and comes to see German society in a new light. Partly filmed on location in Ecuador.
Format: 16mm and Video with English subtitles.
Distributor: Film Depot Goethe-Institut New York


Documentaries

The Colors of Tigua (Die Farben von Tigua)
Germany, 1994, 43’, color

The villages of the Quichua Indians are situated in the Ecuadorian Andes. For almost twenty years, painters there have been painting colorful pictures of their celebrations, traditions, and daily life. Reality and dreams are blended with pre-Columbian myths and Christian influences. For the painters, their art is a survival strategy, the hope of escaping from their daily poverty and the control by whites and outsiders for more than 500 years.
Format: DVD with English subtitles

Talking with Fish and Birds (Mit Fischen und Vögeln reden)
Germany, 1999, 43 min., color

Mánari Ushigua, the last shaman of the Zápara Indians, died in 1997. Ushigua protected his tribe from Catholic missionaries and Evangelical sects and helped save the tribe’s culture. This film tells the story about Ushigua’s family, their connection to the spiritual world, and their life in harmony with nature.
Format: DVD with English subtitles
Clip available! http://www.myvideo.de/watch/831746

The Call of Fayu Ujmu (Der Ruf des Fayu Ujmi)
Germany/Ecuador, 2002, 44 min., color

A 13-year-old Indian boy is found unconscious after being attacked by the evil spirit, Fayu Ujmu, in the jungle. The shaman attempts to tame the spirit in a ritual and advises the boy’s father to to capture the spirit. This semi-documentary is based on an Ecuadorian Chachi Indian legend. Director Rainer Simon shot this film along with indigenous inhabitants of the jungle community of Loma Linda on the Rio Cayapas.
Format: DVD with English subtitles
Clip available! http://video.yahoo.com/watch/232371

Film Programming Ideas

A German Director in Latin America
A topic that offers to collaborate between German Studies, Latin American Studies, Film Studies and Spanish Language department.

The Call of Fayu Ujmi (Der Ruf des Fayu Ujmi), Talking with Fish and Birds (Mit Fischen und Vögeln reden), The Colors of Tigua (Die Farben von Tigua), The Ascent of the Chimborazo (Die Besteigung des Chimborazo)

Life in East Germany
A topic that offers to collaborate between German Studies, Film Studies and History department.

Jadup and Boel (Jadup und Boel)

Revision of Nazi History
A topic that offers to collaborate between German Studies, Film Studies, Jewish Studies and History department.

Jadup and Boel (Jadup und Boel), The Airship (Das Luftschiff)

German History
A topic that offers to collaborate between German Studies, Film Studies and History department.

Wengler & Sons. A Legend (Wengler & Söhne. Eine Legende), The Airship (Das Luftschiff), Till Eulenspiegel, Jadup and Boel (Jadup und Boel), The Woman and the Stranger (Die Frau und der Fremde)

Films Based on Literature
A topic that offers to collaborate between German Studies and Film Studies.

The Airship (Das Luftschiff, author: Fritz Rudolf Fries), The Woman and the Stranger (Die Frau und der Fremde, author: Leonhard Frank), Till Eulenspiegel (Authors: Christa and Gerhard Wolf)

Publications and Books

Fernes Land: Die DDR, die DEFA und der Ruf des Chimborazo

Photographs

For Tour Participants

* Click on the individual thumbnails for high-resolution images of each film.
* After doing so, right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on the high-resolution image and select "Save Image As" to download it to your computer:

Till Eulenspiegel
Till Eulenspiegel
Jadup and Boel
Jadup and Boel
Airship
The Airship
Woman and the Stranger
The Woman and the Stranger
Wengler and Sons
Wengler and Sons
Ascent of the Chimborazo
The Ascent of the Chimborazo
Colors of Tigua
The Colors of Tigua
Talking with Fish and Birds
Talking with Fish and Birds
Call of Fayu Ujmi
The Call of Fayu Ujmu

Poster

Rainer Simon Poster

For Tour Participants
* The poster above is designed for an 11x17 inch print size.
* Download the high resolution .pdf poster file by clicking on the above image.
* Insert the file into an open Microsoft Word document.
* Open a text field in the lower bottom part of the poster (now white).
* Write your own events into this field.
* Save the file and print the poster to advertise your own events.

Press

Please click on one of the links below to download the official DEFA Film Library press release of the tour:

Press Release - Five College and Western Massachusetts Events

Press Release English / Englische Pressemitteilung

Press Release German / Deutsche Pressemitteilung

DEFA Film Library Homepage

For questions related to the website please contact
Jessica Hale