Der Damm & Film oder Macht

Der Damm & Film oder Macht

Edition Filmmuseum 72

Zagreb-born artist Vlado Kristl (1923 2004) was the most radical of the German auteur filmmakers. This two-disc set represents a re-discovery of his work. It comprises early animated films, made in Yugoslavia, his first live-action film, first feature-length film, a parody of holiday home movies, a pamphlet, and a previously unreleased 8mm film. The ROM section features sketches, storyboards, scripts, and texts by Kristl.

The films

Kradja dragulja - 1959 - Directed and written by: Vlado Kristl, Mladen Feman - Produced by: Zagreb Film

La peau de chagrin - 1960 - Directed by: Vlado Kristl, Iva Vrbanic - Written by: Vlado Kristl, nach Honoré de Balzac - Cinematography by: Zlatko Sacer - Produced by: Zagreb Film

Don Kihot - 1961 - Directed and written by: Vlado Kristl - Cinematography by: Zlatko Sacer - Produktion: Zagreb Film

General i resni clovek - 1962 - Directed, written and performed by: Vlado Kristl - Cinematography by: France Cerar - Produced by: Viba Film, Ljubljana

Madelein, Madeleine - 1963 - Directed and written by: Vlado Kristl - Cinematography by: Wolf Wirth - Music by: Erich Ferstl - Cast: Madeleine Sommer, Elisabeth Holzner, Marika Silbernagl, Rolf Huber, Theo Rauch - Produced by: Houwer-Film, München

Der Damm - 1964 - Directed and written by: Vlado Kristl - Cinematography by: Gerard Vandenberg - Cast: Petra Krause, Vlado Kristl, Felix Potisk, Erich Glöckler - Produced by: Detten Schleiermacher, München

Prometheus - 1966 - Directed and written by: Vlado Kristl - Assisted by: Brausi Rischert - Cinematography by: Otmar Krischkowsky - Produced by: Arcis-Film, München

Italienisches Capriccio - 1969 - Directed, written, photographed and produced by: Vlado Kristl

Film oder Macht - 1970 - Directed, written, photographed, and produced by: Vlado Kristl - Cast: Hjalmar-Maximilian "Ringo" Praetorius, Christina Meier, Sylvia Kekule, Heinz Badewitz, High Fish Kommune aus der Giselstraße 12

Tigerkäfig - 1971 - Directed, written, photographed, performed, and produced by: Vlado Kristl

About Der Damm

Kristl does not serve up ideology or the odd and sundry message; no nice, tidy leftist ethos. The director displays no purposeful aspiration to social criticism or the wide-ranging, life-long complex of problems, turgid with meaning, that have since the dawn of time been capable of sending the German soul into throes of ecstasy. And, as in his earlier film Madeleine Madeleine, in The Dam, although it is an experimental film, Kristl eschews the necessary earnestness in addressing his subject. The manufactured, unambiguously humorless profundity proffered up by Herbert Vesely, Ottomar Domnick, Walter Krüttner, and others is absent here. Laughter is allowed. Kristl takes the dreadful liberty of tomfoolery, sending up himself, the characters, the action, "tragedy," and everything else, including the audience, that might be held sacred.

Kristl's film is a jest, if you will, a jest of despair. Within the framework of the action, we recognize a love triangle, one of the simplest of dramatic configurations. Not only the basic idea, but also numerous particulars, both in subject and style, are reminiscent of the films of Roman Polanski, which Kristl doubtless saw and holds in esteem. We meet two men one is meant to embody the outsider, the artistic, intellectual, individualist (Kristl plays this role himself, with the voice dubbed by Uwe Nettelbeck). The other looks like the embodiment of the well-to-do man, the burgher, the functionary, the capitalist. The two battle for the favor of an indecisive and domineering girl (Petra Krause). The subject matter and the denouement with the well-off man the victor and the outsider sinking bombastically without further ado are familiar from Madeleine Madeleine. In The Dam, however, everything is much more explosive, corrosive, confusing, and enhanced with distinguishing aspects and a multitude of repetition.

Kristl seems to be extremely discomfited by "normal" procedures. Among other things, he loves to vandalize the conventional, "natural" logic of occurrences, say by putting the opening shots at the end of a scene or vice versa. Of course, that process and similar "gimmicks" contain a goodly portion of capriciousness and coincidence. It could be argued, however, that those are inherent in any creation, regardless of which order it might belong to. The question is what Kristl achieves by shattering and deforming the accustomed course of events; by working not within established logic, but rather alogically, in end effect emotionally.

What he achieves, at a minimum, is that after seeing The Dam, you can't watch a normal film without questioning its slick plausibility. All at once, you feel dissatisfaction with all too common cinematic action, situations, and forms that are more rip-offs than revelations of reality. And you begin to understand that Kristl, in the best moments of the film, is interested in the actual truth of an occurrence, which is not necessarily identical to the visible, obvious course of events. He cracks the shell to extract the kernel; he films thought.

Eckhart Schmidt

DVD features (2-disc DVD)


  • Kradja dragulja 1959, 9'
  • La peau de chagrin 1960, 10'
  • Don Kihot 1961, 11'
  • General i resni clovek 1962, 10'
  • Madeleine, Madeleine 1963, 10'
  • Der Damm 1964, 77'
  • Prometheus 1966, 10'
  • Documents, sketches, scripts, and drawings as ROM features


  • Italienisches Capriccio 1969, 28'
  • Film oder Macht 1970, 101'
  • Tigerkäfig 1971, 14'
  • 20-page trilingual booklet mit essays

Edited by: Filmmuseum München, Zagreb Film, Slovenski filmski center and Goethe-Institut Munich
DVD authoring: Tobias Dressel
DVD supervision: Klaus Volkmer, Stefan Drössler

First edition Februar 2014

TV Format Original format Audio format Language Subtitles Region code

4:3 (PAL)
Dolby Digital 2.0
All Regions


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