A debut at the age of 82: A few days ago, Volker Schlöndorff's latest film, “Waldmacher”, was finished.

The first long documentary, full-length, as they say, that Schlöndorff made in a good 60 years of filmmaking.

90 minutes about someone who turns hidden roots back into trees and tries to lead people back to the roots of their existence.

Eva-Maria Magel

Head of culture editor Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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Now Schlöndorff himself has become the focus of a documentary that has brought him back to his roots.

For days he was on the banks of the Rhine, in Wiesbaden, in Schlangenbad, “in the decisive places of my youth”.

Born in Biebrich on March 31, 1939, the son of a doctor, he grew up in Schlangenbad.He left the little hut-like house in the forest as a schoolboy and went to France, where he became a filmmaker - but he shot his first short film on the banks of the Rhine in Biebrich, on holiday.

And as a "Hessian creed", political film, homeland film and auteur film epic at the same time, "The sudden wealth of the poor people of Kombach" was created 50 years ago (1971), the questioning of the origin was also a milestone for the development of Schlöndorff's film language .

Exhibition planned

Now a new stage of memory: the clips that have now been shot are to become material for an exhibition.

Hans-Peter Reichmann, once chief curator of the archives of the German Film Museum and Film Institute (DFF), is planning the presentation for 2022/23, based on Schlöndorff's documents, which Schlöndorff has been handing over to the DFF for decades.

"I am a hard-working collector," says Schlöndorff and laughs.

It started with the Hessian Culture Prize, which he received about 30 years ago.

That was in 1987 - and only now, on the occasion of this year's awarding of the Hessian Film Prize on Book Fair Friday in the Offenbach Capitol, Schlöndorff received the counterpart: the Prime Minister's honorary award for his life's work.

That opens a new chapter with “Waldmacher”.

What has happened so far fills shelf meters and files. A few of them also elsewhere: When he was now in Wiesbaden, Schlöndorff was able to see what he had checked there in the Biebrich Castle in the German Film and Media Evaluation, formerly the film evaluation office. There were 23 films alone, the documents are kept there in the attic. In the booth of the cinema, where the examiners still review films to this day, the young Volker Schlöndorff secretly watched film after film, shown by Franz Rath, who later became his cameraman.

In June 1992 he handed over the first batch of documents to the archives of the DFF on all the films that had been made to date: "Der Junge Törless" (1966), for example, "The lost honor of Katharina Blum" (1975) and, of course, "The Tin Drum" (1979), Oscar winner, Cannes winner, German film award winner.

His latest feature film was made in 2017 with “Return to Montauk”.

The Schlöndorff Collection is growing and growing, since 2014, his 75th birthday, it has been on view as a virtual permanent exhibition on the Internet, a pioneering act of the DFF at the time.

All the more disturbing were the reports that Schlöndorff was considering where his predecessor should ultimately go.

He himself also mentioned Potsdam, where he lives and where the film museum has built new rooms.