Film Screening German Cinema Now! “Highfalutin”

Highfalutin © sixpackfilm

Wed, 01/26/2022 -
Fri, 01/28/2022

7:00 PM - 7:00 PM PT


GERMAN CINEMA NOW!, a celebration of the bold, new, and fantastic in German and transnational cinema, is a monthly film series presented by Goethe Pop Up Seattle. In 2022, GCN! explores states of (apparent) stasis, sameness, and standstill, inviting viewers to look closely at the countless dynamic processes that are always underway, just beneath the surface.
The screenings are presented in partnership with Northwest Film Forum Seattle, and all ticket purchases support Northwest Film Forum.

The screening of Highfalutin will take place online only. Please register in advance and pay what you can. The film stream is available to viewers in Washington, Oregon, and California from January 26 at 7pm PT to January 28 at 7pm PT. Please visit NWFF’s event page for more information.
The screening will be accompanied by a pre-recorded discussion between Martin Schwartz and Dr. Richard Block, Professor of German at the University of Washington and author, most recently, of “Echoes of a Queer Messianic: From Frankenstein to Brokeback Mountain.”

Register About the Film:

Dir. Hans Broich
Austria, Germany | 2021 | 96 minutes
German with English subtitles

Synopsis: Volker Spengler allegedly once said, “Do you know what a liberal is? A Nazi without a spine!”. This story is told at one of the tables in a Berlin based pub, Diener Tattersall, where Highfalutin’s filmmakers have gathered several of the celebrated actor’s companions. Over the course of the documentary, these people – actors, directors, musicians, and leading figures of the film, performance and theater scene – tell anecdotes about Volker Spengler, reminiscing of their first encounters and embarrassing moments, their admiration and irritation. Highfalutin plays with time and place to create a cinematic space of its own in which everyone can potentially talk to and listen to everyone else.

Curatorial statement: “It’s quite a gathering at the corner tables at Diener Tattersall in Berlin. Iconic queer performers like Vaginal Davis and Susanne Sachsse, scholars like Marc Siegel, cultural overlords like Rene Pollesch, and great actors of every living generation are drinking heavily and filling up the ashtrays at their late friend Volker Spengler’s favorite bar. But this is not a funeral party. It’s not even funereal. It’s a smoky, raucous wake for an actor of shocking force and dedication, a crude, intense, and untamable lover and joker, and the strangest, funniest person they ever knew.

Immortalized in the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, especially through his unforgettable performance as Elvira Weishaupt in In a Year of 13 Moons, Spengler emerged from a murky boyhood and an apprenticeship at sea to become one of Germany’s most prolific actors. In the grand theatres of Berlin, famed and feared directors ate out of his hand. Indeed, in the Diener, his friends share stories of his professionalism and his humble, all-out approach to acting. But what they wonder at most is the man’s truly overwhelming warmth and joie de vivre. The way he invariable answered the door naked. The way he always smelled nice. The photos of lovers’ faces and other body parts he kept. His loud and foul-mouthed quips at every bar in town. His high-decibel cackle and his massive fleshiness. The dirty jokes he told to old ladies. The way he effortlessly and contemptuously dispelled false seriousness and the way he made his friends feel loved.

Shot over the course of a few gatherings, Hans Broich’s film is put together in the eternal present tense of the corner booth, registering waves of jollity and exhaustion. With glimpses of European theatre culture, Fassbinder’s core ensemble, and the radical camp that originated in 1960s New York, Highfalutin circles around a character who hated conventionality and probed anarchic, Dionysian ways of life and of acting. Is it possible to offend without being “offensive”? Can resistance be a matter of the body and not of the intellect? Is it a good idea to pour gin in an IV? Volker Spengler was a white, European man. But as Highfalutin shows us, the way he lived gives us a taste of universal liberation.” – Martin Schwartz, Curator of German Cinema Now!

About the filmmaker:
Hans Broich, born in 1991, has been studying production and directing at the Vienna Film Academy since 2017. During this time he produced the debut feature film Die Ängstliche Verkehrsteilnehmerin by Berlin director Martha von Mechow and together with editor Felix Leitner his own first film Highfalutin. He is a founding member of the Berlin-based theater and film production company Tentakel Industries.