Daniel Kehlmann: Lichtspiell [Cinema]

The latest addition to my website is Daniel Kehlmann‘s Lichtspiell [Cinema]. The book gives us episodes from the life of Austrian film director G. W. Pabst, who discovered Greta Garbo, Louise Brooks and Leni Riefenstahl. We follow his career in the US and Germany/Austria. Twice he timed his return to Europe badly. The first time – the outbreak of World War 1 – saw him interned in France and the second time – the outbreak of World War 2 – meant he had to work for the Nazis or go to a concentration camp. The interest in this book is focussed on the last film he made while working for the Nazis – The Molander Case. It was made in Prague at the end of the war, with bombs falling and resources in short supply and the author of the novel on which it was based condemning it utterly. What happened to the actual film is unclear, though this books has a theory . Contrary to the English Wikipedia page linked, there is no trace of any surviving copy of the film. Kehlmann tells an excellent story of a diffident man who only wants to make films.

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