Homage to La Sarraz

(Hommage à La Sarraz)

GDR, 1981, 12 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles


In this experimental short, Dammbeck relocates his Leipzig-based artists’ circle  known as the Herbstsalon (Autumn Salon), to La Sarraz Palace in Switzerland. In 1929, La Sarraz was the site of a legendary congress held by leading European avant-garde filmmakers—including Sergei Eisenstein, Béla Balázs, Ivor Montagu, Hans Richter and Walter Ruttmann—who wished to create an independent cinema as a forum for discussing issues such as elitist thinking, the tastes of the masses and the gaps between art and life. Not only avant-garde film history is at stake in Homage to La Sarraz, however; so too are images and sounds from after 1933. Voices and visions of the Nazi past intermingle with the voices and (tele)visions of the (1981) socialist present, suggesting certain analogies. Formally, the director experiments with over-painting and non-camera animation. 


Homage to La Sarraz and Dammbeck’s earlier experimental film, Metamorphoses I mark the filmic beginning of the artist’s long-term project the Herakles-Konzept (Hercules Concept).



2019 London Short Film Festival, UK


2018 Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film, Germany
2018 Culture in the Cold War: East German Art, Music and Film retrospective, Amherst, USA


Press comments

“The mixed-media short Homage to La Sarraz […] expressly disclaims all ideological and commercial purposes in pursuit of pure art.”  —DVDtalk.com 


“The independently produced film Homage to La Sarraz seems to supplement and extend Einmart, turning into a cryptic summing up of [Dammbeck’s] previous filmic experiments as if completing them. Like a leitmotif, it is the outset of a complex questioning of the film medium, of a partially playful, partially polemic reflection, of an uncovering of his own roots.”  —Fred Gehler, Film- und Mediencollagen 1975-1986


“Dammbeck reflects on the durability of the concept of the avant-garde, while allowing it to swing between the poles of the modern and the anti-modern. Homage to La Sarraz was the cinematic core of the Hercules Media Collage.”  —adk.de

Homage to La Sarraz is a tribute to independent filmmaking and the avant-garde spirit.”  —Sylvia Görke, Lutz Dammbeck: Filme



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