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HANS-JÜRGEN SYBERBERG

Germany

Born: Nossendorf, Germany, 8 December 1935.


Flamboyant, ingenious "chronicler of the German soul" who has made some of the most formally arresting films of the New German Cinema. Syberberg made numerous shorts and TV documentaries before directing his first narrative features, Scarabea (1968) and San Domingo (1970). Both films foreshadow, to a limited extent, the formal experimentation of his later, better known works, Ludwig—Requiem for a Virgin King (1972) and the seven-hour Hitler, a film from Germany (1977). Low-budget, studio-bound features employing Brechtian theatrics, backdrops and rear projection, these films juggle myth, history and psychology to evoke, respectively, the mad King of Bavaria and the mad Führer from Austria. In 1982 Syberberg directed a much-praised, though highly idiosyncratic adaptation of Richard Wagner's Parsifal. Constantly critical of his native film industry, Syberberg is regarded as a renegade in German film circles and has gained most of his critical (and financial) support from abroad, particularly from France.

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