Saturday, 21 August 2010

Christoph Schlingensief 1960 - 2010

It has just been reported that German film and theatre director Christoph Schlingensief has died. Schlingensief had been battling lung-cancer for some time.

Besides directing numerous - often controversial - films in Germany and Africa, Schlingensief also directed operas for the Bayreuth Wagner Festival as well as the Opera Festival in Manaus, Brazil. He was also involved in an opera project in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, where he intended to build an opera house.

He was an uncompromising artist who didn't shrink from taboo violations and whose work usually contained strong political messages which, it must be said, weren't always understood, nor did they sit well with the establishment.

Schlingensief and Tilda Swinton, seen here at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009, where Schlingensief was a member of the jury while Swinton was the jury president

In the 1980s Schlingensief dated actress Tilda Swinton. In recent years, he collaborated with countless national and international artists, Udo Kier, Margit Carstensen, and Patti Smith among them. Not that long ago Schlingensief married his long-time collaborator, costume designer Aino Laberenz, in a private ceremony in Hoppenrade Castle in Brandenburg.

Schlingensief at work in Burkina Faso