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A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

Thursday, November 15, 1979
9:30 p.m. The Comanche (Der Comanche)
Herbert Achternbusch (1979)

The Comanche is the most recent film by the self-consciously “Bavarian” filmmaker/writer Herbert Achternbusch, whose films - though much discussed in Germany - are generally unknown in this country. If Achternbusch is known at all in the USA, it is by virtue of his screenplay for fellow Bavarian Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass.
“Trying to write a review about a Herbert Achternbusch film is like doing p.r. work for the Marx Brothers - there’s no way to classify him save as a zany, witty writer (he won the prestigious Petrarca Prize for his novels, stories, and essays) who also writes, produces, and directs himself and his friends in his own creations that pass on the side for home movies....
“The Comanche is great fun, if the viewer catches the humor and satire in the lines spoken with a rich Bavarian accent. Herbert is in a hospital, sitting in an incubator cage, where his dreams can be monitored on a tv screen via the wonders of modern science.... His dreams are so good that his wife sells them to television directly without editing or changing them - for Herbert believes he’s a real-life Comanche Indian.
“Later, the patient is released (the hospital is being abandoned, and the last, left-over patient simply has to go) and off he goes on an Indian raid to a Wiener Wald, a Vienna Woods restaurant where palefaces are congregated sloshing beer. There, a very witty and intellectual dialog takes place on the state of the world, which results in Death and Resurrection and what not.”

—Ron Holloway, Variety

• Written and Directed by Herbert Achternbusch. Photographed by Joerg Schmidt-Reitwein. Edited by Heidi Handorf. With Annamirl Bierbichler, Barbara Gass, Heinz Braun, Brigitte Kramer, Herbert Achternbusch. (1979, 90 mins, 35mm, color, English titles, Print Courtesy of The Goethe Institute)