The Tailor of Ulm

(Der Schneider von Ulm)

GDR, 1979, 14 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Production Company


The little town of Ulm is governed and oppressed by its bishop. Nobody speaks up against him except the tailor, who is also an artist. He rebels against the bishop’s power and believes the impossible is possible. He believes in his dream—that he can fly! This animation film is based on the eponymous poem by Bertolt Brecht. In the film, Dammbeck also hid a reference to Panamarenko (written on the tailor’s hat), the Belgian artist who became known in the mid-1960s and ‘70s for his mixed-media sculptures of flying objects.

Dammbeck made this film—a reference to the myth of Icarus and a metaphor for failure, hope and human exploration—at the invitation of the legendary animator Kurt Weiler. It’s the first example of Dammbeck’s experimental, grotesque, surrealistic style of animation. The idea of flying, which Dammbeck uses here for the first time, will reappear continuously in his next films. The Tailor of Ulm established Dammbeck’s reputation among East German animation directors.


This short film is available for streaming as part of the collection Against the Mainstream: Lutz Dammbeck's Animated Works.


1980 Competition, Oberhausen Festival for Short Films, West Germany



Press comments

“Here we have someone in search of identity. Movement against the dull pap of insistence and against the opportunism of set patterns.”  —Fred Gehler, Filme und Mediencollagen 1975-1986


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