Friday, 7 March 2008

"Dieter Dohle and the Superstar" Bauhaus University Weimar

Yesterday's movie was a woman's affair - today's film is for the boys! Dieter Dohle and the Superstar is based on American Idol, itself a franchise from the original, UK production Pop Idol, and shown in Germany as Deutschland sucht den Superstar. Look at the screenshot of Dieter Dohle above. Notice the manic expression. Would you trust a bird like that? Lined up on the branches of a tree as darkness descends are the wannabes, and there is Dieter on the highest branch acting as host for the show, dispensing swift justice to any animal found wanting in this wonderful satire on a show where people of no talent are judged by animals of less. It is a television programme that deserves satire and the students (and professor) from Bauhaus University, Weimar, hand it out in style. In an exercise in cruelty each contestant in turn performs their piece and then is summarily dispatched - sometimes even before their beak has been allowed to squeak - by the wicked crow. The gore is a delight. The perky hedgehog sings a ballad of love. Dieter is also moved. (Don't become too attached to any of the characters is my advice!) My particular favourite is the peacock. Words fail me here so I shall leave it all to two screenshots, before and after.

From what I can gather, the animation is very much a team affair within Visual Communication. Werner Holzwarth is the professor of the faculty and he contributed the idea (with Antje Huebsch and good to see some feminine involvement) and the lyrics (professors are not like they were in my day!); the illustration work was executed by Alexander von Knorre and Jann Kerntke ; and the animation and cutting was Joerg Waschescio's task. The music was composed by Juergen Treyz, a well known music composer for children's music, whilst comedian and singer, Bernd Kohlhepp, provided the voice. It is a cut above most such projects. The graphics are both funny and excellent in their cartoony way and the backdrop is nicely rendered - most atmospheric - whilst Joerg has done a sterling, professional job stitching it all together. Now I might have felt the music is a little too traditional for my tastes though it works superlatively well here. I've been converted! Joerg did feel the jokes might not work on non-German speakers but he and his friends have worked on a translation for me, even writing it in verse, and I understand a sub-titled version is a possibility. Thanks to the students for sharing it - ein wunderbares Zustandebringen! (And any complaints about the language in the song please direct to the prof.)
  • Behind the wood – just come and see! –
    The casting tour is starting today.
    Among the jury – what a hoot! –
    Is – guess who! – Dieter Dohle.

    The applause becomes a hurricane:
    The mountain cock leads the way.
    But just after the first trill,
    Dieter plays the cock killer.

    Then it’s the hare’s turn.
    Oh man, his bladder is full to burstin’.
    The owl is not much better.
    Dohle sways the pin.

    Rhythmically false and fairly bad
    The woodpecker hammers the beat.
    Afterwards, the titmouse tweets
    Dohle says that both are shit.

    With ethno-rock, competes the sheep
    The audience contends with sleep.
    And now the wild pig rocks like a maniac,
    Despite its massive asthenic.

    The hedgehog, not really a favourite,
    Sings a soppy love song.
    A girl group consisting of four maggots
    Is surely about to sink shortly.

    The fox pretends to be a Latin lover,
    But even this becomes a fair flop.
    The squirrel sings: “Yeah, this is POP!"
    Dieter D. screams: “Flop! Flop! Flop!"

    Hips swinging, the peacock approaches,
    For Dohle this is the worst case scenario!
    “I am looking for a star, you dumb-bell!
    And not for Germany’s Super Model!"

    And at the end of the casting round
    The next moment of shock occurs:
    A little black bird, of great antiquity,
    Casually digs its claws into the mike:

    “In case this one becomes a star, I will split!”
    Dieter says and convulses with laughter.
    “Do you know, what I’ve always been:
    I have been a star(ling) by birth!"

No animals were hurt in the making of this movie!

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