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Featured Gesundheit Europa USA RusslandUkraineKrieg (24.2.2022) Krimi

"And my stomach has to disappear into the shadows, right?"

He was always considered a child prodigy, a youthful genius.

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"And my stomach has to disappear into the shadows, right?"

He was always considered a child prodigy, a youthful genius. Even one of his first radio plays, "War of the Worlds", staged as an exciting direct report on an invasion by Martians, is said to have triggered mass panic on the east coast of the USA. His "Macbeth" on Broadway, with all black actors, became a notorious voodoo extravaganza. Already one of his first Hollywood productions, Citizen Kane (he wrote the screenplay, directed and played the main character, who was modeled after reactionary media magnate William Randolph Hearst), is considered one of the top ten films of all time.

But at the time, thanks to a toxic newspaper campaign by Hearst, the flick couldn't even recoup its costs. It was not the last of Orson's financial crashes. In order to raise money for his elaborate productions, he hired himself out as an actor in over 100 - often insignificant - products. Most successful after all in "The Third Man". But the lifelong unlucky fellow broke all records with his autobiographical film “The Other Side of the Wind”: shooting from 1970 to 1976, world premiere in 2018! It almost seems as if this Orson Welles wanted to attract misfortune. Why actually? To feel like an unrecognized genius? To prove that he would be too gigantic for this world?

We meet the aging and now extensive artist in May 1962 while shooting Kafka's "Process". With Anthony Perkins (see Hitchcock's "Psycho") as the innocent persecuted who will never know what is actually against him. A single nightly stroll through Paris' labyrinthine Orsay train station convinced Welles that he had found the right atmosphere here. The cold performance by Perkins and Romy Schneider in front of foggy and distorted aspects of the train station unfortunately gives one the suspicion that the former magician has increasingly turned into a shrewd trickster.

Lunch break. "An interview? Fire away.” “We have to build up first.” “I'll give you two minutes.” “That's not enough.” “For me it is. Am I vital, tired, grumpy? So magical, well, also right. I edit my films myself, so here I am at the editing table and I do my magic. Now go ahead, your Zwo-KW here to brighten up. Then the one-KW more sideways to dramatize my head. Now a little spot, you've got it, with a box that someone is fanning in front of. As if the film was reflected in my face. you have no one left? Well, then I'll fan myself with my left hand. With the right I project the film excerpts. Come on!"

It turns out that this effect cannot be achieved. Welles rages - no wonder Germany lost the war! The lunch break is long over, Welles is still working on his light. "And my stomach has to disappear into the shadows, right? Magicians don't have bellies!" Question: "Do magicians actually live for self-punishment?" "What do you mean by that? All right, yes. Just like Kafka. The genius always has to justify himself for something hidden, no, twisted. Maybe just for his existence? Do you have this?"

“Last question: You recently made a film about art forgers. Are we all somehow cheating our lives?” “Kafka knew it. I myself have to learn it bit by bit, for example against the backdrop of a wrecked Paris train station. Train stations are places of unfulfilled desires, understand? And now enough.”

Georg Stefan Troller, writer and documentary filmmaker, born a Jew in Vienna in 1921, met all the intellectual greats of the 20th century. How was it? Ask him at

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