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An Interview with René Wiesner, Director of Warum läuft Herr W. Amok?

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2021

Films directed by René Wiesner on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Warum läuft Herr W. Amok? - in a few words, what is it about?

 

It is an in-depth interview with actor Jörg Wischnauski [Jörg Wischnauski interview - click here] in which he reflects his and in parts my work over the last years.

 

How did the idea for Warum läuft Herr W. Amok? actually come about, and was it you or Jörg Wischnauski who initially suggested to make the movie?

 

I had the idea of the movie. A short time ago we made the movie Obsession together, in which Jörg gave everything for me but in the end it turned out unreleasable. Which is very, very hurtful to me because I might even consider it as my best work. But of course I also saw how disappointed Jörg was because of it, so I came up with the idea for Warum läuft Herr W. Amok? Even if I couldn't show the whole movie Obsession I could at least show parts of it. Making this movie was some kind of duty to me but definitely a burden.

 

How did you and Jörg first meet even, and what can you tell us about working with him, both on Warum läuft Herr W. Amok? and on previous collaborations?

 

We met many years ago through mutual friends. At this time I wasn't very active in filmmaking but he already was a busy bit part actor. We remained in touch and grew a friendship over time, especially during the shooting of Pesthauch der Menschlichkeit, which became bigger and bigger with every movie we made together. Warum läuft Herr W. Amok? was made in a nice couple of hours we spent together but the editing process was a pain in the ass. But that wasn't Jörg's fault.

 

In your movie, Jörg complains about the movies he has made with you just not coming out - so could you give us your perspective on that, and is there any schedule for putting them out, however tentatively?

 

There aren't any labels in Europe that are interested in my movies. It is not that I haven't tried to put them out there but my movies are hard to categorize, which I think is the main reason no one touches them. They aren't horror, they aren't splatter, they aren't funny, and foremost they leave you alone in the end without explanation and guidance. Even though I experimented with narration I am most of the time unhappy with it. Movies should be experienced and not be explained to the audience. I believe my audience is able to put the images in perspective themselves. Unfortunately I am very much alone with this view nowadays. I mean how many people are there that make mondo films or silent films today?

 

I am sitting on 20 movies or more made alone in the last two years. Almost no one has seen the better parts of my work: Konversion, Obsession, 1 Girl 1 Cat 1 Hammer, Michael: A Murderabilia Memoriam or Das Wundern des jungen Ulysses (the latter two US only). In the US at least some of it has been released. Filmmaking is all about tenacity. When you think your work is good or has any value or you want to be a filmmaker no matter under what circumstances you just can't stop. Looking at it right now it is a pain in the ass but maybe I am looking back in the future to say that working in a vacuum is what formed me as a filmmaker.

 

Now the finale of Warum läuft Herr W. Amok? was obviously staged, otherwise we wouldn't be able to talk - but to what extent did the movie mirror Jörg's honest feelings about things, and was there an identifiable point where you and him decided to just go overboard to make the climax work?

 

It is what Werner Herzog called the "ecstatic truth" or what Ulrich Seidl would call "the reality, only stylized". I think there is more truth in it than people would think even though Jörg would probably not admit it. The idea of spicing it up with the end is why I wanted to make the movie in the first place. I wasn't interested in just making an interview. Also I wanted to give Jörg a chance to speak out on past projects one last time to be free for new movies.

 

How would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

There isn't that much to say about that. I was open and honest about what I wanted to do with the movie. It is just kind of sad that I had to edit so much out in the end. A big, big part in which Jörg speaks about himself and his personal projects didn't make the final cut, but I didn't want the movie to be two and a half hours long. Maybe I'll make something out of it in the future. In a couple of years.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Reflecting on bad experiences, especially in front of another person, is hard, and doing it in front of a camera is even harder. But Jörg was very open, which made it easier for me too. I am most of the time a one man crew, which makes it often super dificult to hold everything together, but due to his openness it was also not too stressful for me.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Warum läuft Herr W. Amok? be seen?

 

I don't know yet.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Warum läuft Herr W. Amok??

 

It is always intersting to me how people see my movies and especially what they see in them. At the time not many people have seen it except me, Jörg, Marian Dora and Juval Marlon [Juval Marlon interview - click here] – to give their okay – and maybe two or three more people. The reception was very positive. One friend called it a satire on the indie and underground filmmaking scene.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

So many ideas and projects I would like to make but no moneym crew or time to actually make them. I would like to do more documentaries e.g. a sequel to Mondo Siam, or something that tempts me even more would be Mondo Germania – an exploration of the German soul. But at the moment I am in pre-production for the biggest movie I have made yet on my own - a narrative feature film called Todestrieb. The first part will be shot in the middle of December. I am still working on the details. A movie for everyone and nobody.

 

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Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

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Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Teaser Warum läuft Herr W. Amok?: https://youtu.be/LA9NpUlz9lA

https://www.youtube.com/c/Ren%C3%A9Wiesner

https://www.facebook.com/wiesnerfilms

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

You can get some of my movies at https://putridproductions.bigcartel.com/products, or a German DVD of Mondo Siam via my Facebook page.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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written by
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starring
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