Hommage an Frieda Grafe
Vortrag von Klaus Theweleit
May 3, 2010
Frieda Grafe (1934–2002) was the most important German post-war writer on film – and the first to introduce the culture of Pop and new (French) philosophy to German cultural criticism. The experience of living and studying in Paris for several years brought an inimitable sound to her writing. It was based on a deep understanding of the ways in which film had seeped into and changed language, art, and everyday modern life. Long before Deleuze, Grafe introduced the notion that film represented a new way of thinking. Her style was ‘electric,’ alive and unpredictable: “As cool as an exchange of glances in a Hawks movie, as exhilarating as Delphine Seyrig’s smile in a film by Resnais.”
It was only with the posthumous publication of her 12-volume Selected Writings (Berlin 2002-08) that the true measure of Grafe’s contribution could be weighed. These essays of film criticism first appeared in Filmkritik (1962-1972), Die Zeit and the Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as in various books. She was also responsible for influential television programs and translations (often in collaboration with her husband, film historian Enno Patalas) – it was through her efforts that books by Godard, Truffaut and Renoir were first published in German.
The Film Museum pays tribute to Frieda Grafe not only as an inspiration for the Film Colors retrospective, but also with an evening dedicated to her work: the writer Sissi Tax, a close friend, will read from Grafe’s essays and letters, and cultural theorist Klaus Theweleit will present a lecture on her work. The program will conclude with a screening of one of Grafe’s favorite films: The Nutty Professor, directed by and starring Jerry Lewis.