Friedrich Hölderlin - DICHTER SEIN. UNBEDINGT! SWR, ARTE 2020
53 min. Arte / first broadcast March 25th, 2020
90 min. SWR-FS / first broadcast March 29th, 2020
On the occasion of the 250th birthday of Friedrich Hölderlin in March 2020, DICHTER SEIN. UNBEDINGT! (Poet, absolutely!) tells the story of an artistic radicalization on the backdrop of the French Revolution. A story about extremism, aspiration and identity.
On September 9th, 1806 the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin is taken, against his will, from his then home in Bad Homburg to a psychiatric clinic in Tübingen. During 231 days he will undergo radical „therapy“ to finally be declared incurable and left to be taken care of to a carpenter‘s family in Tübingen. 36 years the poet will live in a tower‘s room in the carpenter’s house, until his death. The circumstances of his violent arrest stay questioned until today.
Starting from his forced confinement, directors Hedwig Schmutte and Rolf Lambert look at the Swabian poet's path from his childhood, through his rigorous education in the best educational establishments in the country, his years of travel, his friendships, tragic love affairs and on to his radicalization as a politically-minded person and linguistic innovator who pushes the boundaries of literature. Today Hölderlin is one of the most famous poets in the world. He left behind a groundbreaking work.
In the documentary, actor Thorsten Hierse puts himself in the shoes of the Swabian poet, whose life stages and artistic development are commented on by writers such as Durs Grünbein, Daniela Danz and Kurt Oesterle. The music was composed by the Icelandic producer President Bongo, the drawings are by animation artist Ali Soozandeh. Renowned archives have made original documents available, with the help of which Friedrich Hölderlin's biography is unrolled in a kind of laboratory situation almost like a criminal investigation.

written and directed by Hedwig Schmutte & Rolf Lambert
editor: Ulrike Becker
produced by Along Mekong Productions for SWR / ARTE with the support of the Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg, © 2019

The Rhône - From the Swiss Alps to the Camargue - SWR - 2019
The Rhône – one of the longest and most significant rivers in Europe. Originating in the Swiss Alps and winding its way through Switzerland and France, its waters flow past historic landmarks, high-tech industrial areas and an extraordinary variety of landscapes.
When it finally runs into the Mediterranean Sea, it has become witness to the multi-faceted fates of all kinds of people living along and with the river: fishermen, biologists, farmers, historians, engineers, bargemen… This intriguing documentary tells their stories, framed by breathtaking images of this sometimes placid, sometimes surprisingly wild stream and its surrounding landscape.
Aerial shots depict the Rhône’s natural beauty as well as human attempts to tame and exploit it, thereby raising the question of how to overcome the contradiction between constant progress and renaturation.
View the trailer

The Neckar – SWR – 2017
The 90 minutes documentary shows the Neckar as a one of the life lines of the Baden-Wurttemberg region of Germany and enquires the future of the river – as a motor of economic development and a valuable natural asset that needs protection.
From its source in the nature reserve of Schwenninger Moos to the city of Mannheim, where it flows into the Rhine, the film tells about the people who are connected to the river: the last professional fisherman, the only woman captain steering a freighter, a woman in charge of a salt mine in Heilbronn, a young engineer in a 246 meters high tower for testing elevators, a scholar in the German archive of literature on the tracks of the Romanticists and a biologist looking for ecological hotspots in the middle course of the river. The documentary shows the Neckar as a river that delivers many exciting stories and strongly influences the south-west of Germany.
View to trailer (in German language)

24 HOURS IN MANNHEIM - SWR – 2017
How does a city work? Who is keeping the infrastructure running? Where is the water coming from when you open the tap, who is running grassroot projects in a difficult neighbourhood, what happens backstage in the theatre? From dawn throughout the day into the night, the beat of the city – the documentary follows a complete daily routine in Mannheim, one of the most dynamic city of Germany.
The 90 minutes film takes the spectator along an entertaining journey through a 24 hours day. The film dives in the different worlds and backgrounds of the 333.000 inhabitants’ city, which hail from 170 nationalities. It introduces people who do their job day after day, who keep the wheelwork of Mannheim running, without feeling like small wheels themselves. It opens unexpected insights into public and non-public life of a city, that is as much down-to-earth as it is open-minded and which centre is divided into “quadrats” (squares).
View the trailer (in German language).

THE GULF STREAM – BIG RIVER IN THE SEA - SWR & ARTE – 2016
The two films follow the Gulfstream on its journey along America’s East Coast and across the Atlantic all the way up to Norway. Arial views show the landscapes that are influenced by the Gulf Stream, from Florida to Newfoundland, from the Azores through France and the extreme West of Ireland and the Scottish Orkney Islands, all the way to Iceland and the Lofoten Islands in Norway. We encounter people who live and work with the current: is it loosing its strength? And if yes, what does that mean for our planet?
The first part dives with a submarine in the history of the first Gulf Stream Expedition, encounters Gulf Stream voyaging sea turtles, accompanies divers exploring the “Ship’s cemetery of the Atlantic”, pays a visit to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and takes off to the air with the International Ice Patrol looking for icebergs offshore Canada’s coast. Part 2 of the documentary starts on the Azores, where we see scientists fixing sensors on deep sea fishes that travel with the Gulf Stream.nIn France we show how engineers are developing a new generation of high-tech buoys that can take measurements in sea currents 4000 meters deep. We meet adventurous gardeners in Ireland, weathered-faced fishers in Norway and archaeologists in northern Scotland, who document the influence of the Gulf Stream on the Europeans settlements in the Neolithic.
There is also a 90 minutes version of the film.
View the Trailer

Europe High Spirit - SWR & ARTE - 2012-2015
For many centuries spirits and prime eau-de-vie have been produced all over Europe. Whether vodka, whisky, fruit brandies, or absinthe, Europe’s distillates and essences are a cultural tradition of high level. They are the mirror of the landscapes, the history and the lifestyle of the region, where they are produced.
In an entertaining way the four films introduce to famous European drinks.
1- Absinthe in France
2- Whisky in Scotland
3- Vodka in Poland
4- Fruit brandies in the Alps
The “spirits of Europe” live in beautiful landscapes, where they are still distilled, allow insights into history and contemporary life, lead us into old towns and modern cities, are related to folk music and culture, and foremost bring encounters with interesting people. A friendly protagonist leads the path of each film.
View the trailer (in German language)

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