The atmosphere of 1970s Munich is seen through the eyes of a film director who helped define the style of that era.
Using excerpts from his films, including LIEBE, SO SCHÖN WIE LIEBE (1971), SYLVIE (1973), IDOLE (1976), and AMORE (1978), director Klaus Lemke recalls a decade whose spirit of optimism, structural change, and emancipation defined Munich half a century ago. “Back then, we all thought life would be eating out of our hands,” he says, “but then in the ’80s we ourselves became fodder.”
Meet the director
Klaus Lemke was born in Landsberg an der Warthe in 1940. He grew up in Düsseldorf; one of his first jobs was in roadwork. He abandoned his study of art history and philosophy after three years, then became an assistant director to Fritz Kortner and others in Munich in 1963 and 1964. He wrote for “Film” magazine, made six short films as part of the Neue Münchner Gruppe, and before long established himself as the “King of Schwabing”. In 1967, he made his first feature film, 48 STUNDEN BIS ACAPULCO. His first film for the WDR television network created a scandal in 1969: BRANDSTIFTER dealt directly with the bombing of two Frankfurt department stores by Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader. A lack of fleshed-out scripts, gravitation toward raw themes that are true to life, and work with amateur actors are all characteristic of Lemke’s work. Lemke directed several films with Cleo Kretschmer and Wolfgang Fierek, including AMORE (1977/78), which received the Adolf-Grimme-Preis. Lemke’s film ROCKER from 1972 is considered legendary; it was filmed in Hamburg, as were DIE RATTE (1992) and DANCING WITH DEVILS (2008). SCHMUTZIGER SÜDEN (2010) was about a young man from Hamburg who aims to seduce beautiful women in Munich but comes to realize that times have changed. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN honored Klaus Lemke in 2014 by showing a retrospective of his Hamburg films. UNTERWÄSCHELÜGEN (2016), MAKING JUDITH! (2017), BAD GIRL AVENUE (2018), NEW GODS OUTTA MUNICH (2019), and A CALLGIRL FOR GHOSTS all had their world premiere in Munich.