Last month South-African artist William Kentridge, who is currently the focus of an exhibition in EYE, discussed Alban Berg’s famous 1920s opera Lulu with opera and theatre director Pierre Audi, showing fragments from the two major Lulu film adaptations Erdgeist (Earth Spirit) and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box). EYE is now screening the complete films by Leopold Jessner and G. W. Pabst. Tickets cost €25 (including a glass of Prosecco).
Erdgeist (DE 1923, Leopold Jessner, black and white, 94”)Jessner”s film adaptation of Frank Wedekind”s play Der Erdgeist (1895) effectively evokes the mood of decadence and eroticism of Wedekind”s tale. Film diva Asta Nielsen plays Lulu, the archetypal femme fatale whose charms so many men find impossible to resist. When Dr. Schön, one of her ex-lovers, finds out Lulu is having an affair with his son Alwa, he is beside himself. All Lulu can do is to shoot her troubled former admirer. A contemporary critic remarked about Nielsen”s erotic presence: 'Die Augen sind es hier vor allem, nicht das Fleisch. Sie hat ja gar kein Fleisch.' (It”s her eyes mostly, not the flesh. After all, there”s very little flesh on her).
Die Büchse der Pandora (DE 1929, G.W. Pabst, black and white 141”)Lulu – here performed by film star and vamp of the 1920s Louise Brooks – wants to be the object of desire; she warps men around her finger and ultimately ruins them. In the end she meets her own fate in the arms of Jack the Ripper. Playwright Frank Wedekind himself said about his creation: “Lulu is not a real character, but the personification of a primitive sexuality who inspires evil unaware”.
Film screening with live music performed by Martin de Ruiter (piano, bandoneon), Andreas Suntrop (electric guitar effects), Annie Tångberg (cello, sound effects).
From 25 April till 30 August Eye presented If We Ever Get to Heaven, featuring work by the celebrated South African artist William Kentridge (Johannesburg, 1955).
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