Der Bomberpilot, Werner Schroeter, 65‘, FRG, ZDF 3.11.1970, Original German version

Werner Schroeter shot this anarchic swan song to the (post-)war era on a tiny budget in 1970: “We had no money and took what we needed.” Technology for sync sound was not available ­– so he got creative with the dubbing. Even the plot never indulges in the epic. As the ZDF writes: “The three stateless women Carla, Mascha and Magdalena hire themselves out as troop entertainers during the Second World War, until Carla disappears without a trace. Only after the war do they chance upon each other again and attempt a comeback with their old wartime hits.” Schroeter’s conciseness is in the staging, in the detail of every gesture, every movement, the costumes and motifs. Der Bomberpilot is a comprehensive artwork, its absurd humour rankles even today.

Werner Schroeter (1945–2010), a well-known German film and theatre director, is considered an avant-garde of New German Cinema. He received the Golden Bear for his films and the German Film Award several times, as well as the honorary awards of the Locarno and Venice Film Festivals for his life’s work. Amongst others, Der Bomberpilot (1969), The Death of Maria Malibran (1972) and Willow Springs (1973) were made for Das kleine Fernsehspiel, which also featured in the Berlinale Forum, as did About Argentina and The Rose King (both in 1986).