THE ORANGE KISS
Twelve-year-old children practice their secondary bond: the alpha girl stages the first, shy kiss for her clique – beyond romantic feelings.
The distant black and white camera of the French cameraman Manuel Terran makes the brittleness of the age on the threshold of puberty tangible.
““For a long time I have been fascinated by the work of the French director Jacques Doillon and his films with and about children, which capture and show the perspective of the young actors in a special way. Unforgotten films like “Ponette” with the four-year-old main actress Victoire Thivisol, who was the youngest recipient of the Coppa Volpi at the Venice International Film Festival. I wanted to try something similar – albeit with a completely different topic. In order to find the right (camera) perspective, I was able to win the Oscar-nominated cameraman Manuel Terran for the project. “Hubertus Siegert, director
“Boredom, lack of relationships and growing brutality seem particularly convincing thanks to the well-managed young actors. (…) Without any fake pathos, a state and attitude towards life is described that causes anxiety and virtually challenges discussion.”
The first performance of THE ORANGE KISS took place at the 1997 Locarno Film Festival because the German film and media rating justified it as valuable.
with: Laura Marvin, Leon Jürges
Director and producer: Hubertus Siegert
Scriptwriter and editor: Karin Nowarra
Assistant director: Britt Beyer
Camera: Manuel Teran
Sound mixer: Martin Steyer
The casting for the film The Orange Kiss will take place at the Fläming School – the school whose pupils will be the focus of Siegert’s second documentary film: CLASS LIFE. “Without The Orange Kiss and my resulting contact with the teacher Ms. Haase, CLASS LIFE would probably never have come about.” Hubertus Siegert
The viewer’s gaze wanders through a supermarket from the 1990s. Goods are sorted and replenished. The supermarket has not yet opened, nor is it without customers. It feels like the calm before the storm.
And the storm is coming: in the form of a young girl. The first and so far only customer roams the aisles between endless supermarket shelves. Obviously unimpressed. And increasingly annoyed.
While more and more goods are brought to the supermarket on pallet trucks, the abundance, the futility and the banality of the world of goods meet with an individual.
In her youth, the protagonist has a special power to revolt and destroy what is “put in front of her”. In fact, the situation finally “explodes” and one is inevitably reminded of the famous explosion scene in Antonioni “Zabriskie Point”.
“I found this film to be an experiment. “All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun”, everyone has heard before. In my film, the girl herself becomes a weapon. I wanted to create a kind of punk fairy tale that was critical of consumer society – and in the mid-1990s I encountered a lot of misunderstanding. Maybe that’s exactly a sign that it worked. Today, the film seems quite mysterious.“
Director and producer: Hubertus Siegert
Dramaturgical advice: Karin Nowarra
Editor: Eva Schlensag
Camera: Ralf Kalle Dobrick
Music: Thom Willems
Sound Mix: Hartmut Eichgrün
Effects: Brian Edmonds
Music plays a major role in this film – it comes from the composer Thom Willems, whose works, in conjunction with the choreographer William Forsythe, are represented in the repertoire of practically all major ballet companies worldwide. The SONNENJUWEL was shot as a silent film and dubbed. Not a word is spoken – but the rumble of the shopping cart, the clashing of canned jars in combination with Willems music speak for themselves.
STRAVINSKY IN BERLIN
The myth of the Berlin subway line 1 in true sobriety: shot in the early 1990s, the silent film feels like a last echo of West Berlin’s Kreuzberg – the cult district of that time, whose residents and stories now largely fell victims to gentrification. Live, fight, pause – meet, touch, turn away. Everything is captured in the moments when strangers briefly become companions on a train journey and others take train stations and wagons as their home. Sometimes the observation becomes so close and narrow that it takes your breath away. The view through the train windows of the city is relieving and creates a sense of distance. Thanks to the montage coordinated with the music, the encounters are reminiscent of a play with a planned dramaturgy.
The film was shot exclusively in the trains and stations of the legendary Berlin subway line 1 and cut to the timeless ballet music Petruschka by Igor Stravinsky, which is actually dedicated to the fair of human vanities and here offers the anachronistic sound for a bygone world.
The film toured in the 1990s, the decade of German reunification, together with Walter Ruttmann’s BERLIN – DIE SINFONIE DER GROßSTADT (1927) in many countries.
The premiere of the film took place at the Dokfest in Leipzig.
STRAVINSKY IN BERLIN was awarded the Grand Prix Video Danse Paris.
Director, producer, scriptwriter and montage: Hubertus Siegert
Dramaturgical advice: Claudia Rudolph
Camera: Dieter Welsch
Music: Pétrouchka, Igor Strawinsky, Fassung 1911
Even if STRAVINSKY IN BERLIN is not a silent film in the strict sense, it uses elements typical of the classic silent film: It is shot in black and white, instead of language there is music and the faded-in nudes of Petrushka serve as subtitles. From this film onwards, music – or its deliberate absence – will play a major role in S.U.M.O. productions: The cult band Einstürzende Neubauten wrote the soundtrack for the feature documentary BERLIN BABYLON (2001). The film BEYOND PUNISHMENT (2015) dispenses with any music, even in the credits.
“STRAVINSKY IN BERLIN by Hubertus Siegert has the impossible length of 35 minutes. Black-and-white. Without words. But with the ballet music “Petruschka” by Stravinsky, which fits Berlin as well as Gershwin does to Manhattan. Siegert cuts underground scenes, the former line 1, Kreuzberg, to the rhythm of Stravinsky’s music, tells short stories about lovers, beggars and freaks, events at the Kottbusser Tor, Görlitz station, and Schlesisches Tor. But without zoom, without swings, without driving. A modern silent film that stands between two very different models: Walther Ruttmann’s “Berlin, the symphony of the big city” and the musical “Line 1”. Siegert moved to West Berlin in 1980. The film describes his departure from the half-city home, which no longer exists. Last pictures. A dance of death for the legend of Kreuzberg. “HARALD MARTENSTEIN Der Tagesspiegel, December 5th, 1993
BETWEEN THE TIMES – BERLIN GLEISDREIECK
In an early phase of the environmental movement, the film draws parallels between huge inner-city wasteland at Gleisdreieck in West Berlin with the repopulation by plants after the last ice age. A detailed observation of the ruined landscape on the Reichsbahn areas in Kreuzberg for plant connoisseurs and those interested in Berlin city history. The film captures a moment that today – after the opening of Park am Gleisdreieck (2011-2014) – is hard to imagine. The historical document of a place steeped in history.
The short film BETWEEN THE TIMES – BERLIN GLEISDREIECK was made with funds from the Bundesgartenschau Berlin 1985.
The film received the award of the Ökomedia Festival in 1985.
Concept and montage: Andreas Oberbach, Hubertus Siegert
Camera and Montage: Rainer Meißle
Music: Astor Piazolla, Ludvik Mann
The precise, non-interpretive gaze and the connection between the city’s history and the documentation of current events can be found in Siegert’s first feature documentary BERLIN BABYLON (2001).