Elfi Mikesch

Elfi Mikesch

Additional Names: Elfriede Mikesch (Geburtsname)
Darstellerin, Regie, Regie-Assistenz, Drehbuch, Kamera, Bauten, Kostümbild, Maskenbild, Schnitt, Ton, Sonstiges, Produzent, Produktionsleitung, Aufnahmeleitung
*31.05.1940 Judenburg, Österreich

Biography

Elfi Mikesch was born May 31, 1940 in Judenburg, Austria, as the daughter of a projectionist. After finishing school, she graduated from an apprenticeship as a photographer in Judenburg. "I have learned to become a photographer in the countryside, in old sooted or dusty artist's workshops where portrays, passport photographs, and war memorials were part of the range of goods and where the singer's ball was the year's highlight" (Mikesch). Dissatisfied with her apprenticeship, Mikesch started to paint and to read E. A. Poe and E. T. A. Hoffmann. At the end of the 1950s, she went to Innsbruck where she met painter Fritz Mikesch whom she married in 1960.

In 1963, she and her husband moved to Frankfurt am Main. There she met Rosa von Praunheim. In 1965, they moved to West Berlin where Mikesch worked for the publisher V. Magdalinski, for instance, for a multi-part publication called "Licht" by Fritz Mikesch. Elfi Mikesch took on the stage name "Oh Muvie" and together with Rosa von Praunheim published "Oh Muvie" under her stage name, starring Rosa von Praunheim and Carla Aulaulu, among others, "a Berlin-based anarchistic photo story". Besides her work as a photographer, Mikesch started to make Super-8 films. In 1970, she finished the short film "Charisma" based on motives of E. A. Poe's story "The Mask of the Red Death".

Together with Praunheim and Fritz Mikesch she went on a world trip in 1971. During the trip, they finished the film "Leidenschaften" ("Passions"), directed by Praunheim. "An irregular, 'dirty' kaleidoscope film that compares to a conventional journey film like the smudgy palette to a painting." (Klaus Kreimeier). Elfi Mikesch was in charge of the camera, costume design and make-up, while Fritz Mikesch played the leading role.

After her second Super-8 film "Family Sketch" about the "miniature catastrophes in the kitchen and in the household" (Mikesch), she produced the slide show "A Study of Mary", a study of the Scottish queen Maria Stuart, in 1977. The project that was exhibited in Werner Kunze's gallery in Berlin, consisted of still photographs and a series of slides that were accompanied by sounds, music, and shreds of language over a duration of 22 minutes. "The drama of a woman who tried a sort of liberal emancipation in a time of change but got caught in the pitfalls of the world of men... A small master piece, ardent, dramatic, energetic, and tremendously aesthetic." (Hans Ohff)

In 1978, Mikesch developed her second slide show "Something Cool". Furthermore, she finished the photo series "Seegrube – Eine Geschichte aus der Heimat", "Rosa Silvester" (with Rosa von Praunheim), "Python" (with Berrit Bohlen, Frank Ripploh, and Bernd Broaderup), "Streng geheim" (with Christopher Gierke and Fritz Mikesch), and "Gappmayr" (with the Heinz Gappmayr family), as well as self-published xerography books (for instance, "Sweet Black") during these years.

From June 1978 to April 1980, Mikesch was in charge of the cover design of the magazine "Frauen und Film" and published her photo story "flageolett" about the Hamburg-based film makers Silke Grossmann and Heinz Emigholz in the magazine.

In 1980, she finished "Was soll'n wir denn machen ohne den Tod" ("What Shall We Do Without Death"), a documentary film about two women in an old people's home in Hamburg. "The film neither denounces its protagonists, nor is an invitation to voyeurism. Instead it takes the reducedness of the elderly people as a particular emotional, physical, and social form of life serious, their confusion as well as their lucid moments." (Uta Berg-Ganschow)

In the same year Mikesch also shot the short video film "Apocalypso" and dedicated it to Friederike Petzold and her video channel "Canale Grande": "A choreography for light. Moving light creatures the rhythmic dissolution of shapes on the surface of several photographies, and draws via the video camera and together with a collage of sounds a new illusion of the places Baalbek, Homs, New York, Berlin." (Mikesch).

"Macumba" (1981/82) that connects an experimental film language with narrative feature film elements "follows the obsessions, mannerisms, frustrations of the people in a teardown house (...) collects traces of the people that had lived in Kurfürstenstraße: traces of the present. (...) Maya Deren's notes from Haiti have found their counterpart in Elfi Mikesch's Kurfürstenstraße. An anthropological expedition and at the same time a poetic undertaking." (Dietrich Kuhlbrodt)

In 1983, she made the short eperimental films "Die blaue Distanz" and "Das Frühstück der Hyäne". Furthermore, she operated the camera for Cynthia Beatt's film "Böse zu sein ist auch ein Beweis von Gefühl" and for Rosa von Praunheim's film "Horror Vacui". The style of both films, and Praunheim's in particular, was strongly influenced by Mikesch's expressively canted camera positions. In 1984, she filmed Werner Schroeter's "Der Rosenkönig" ("The Rose King"), starring Magdalena Montezuma, in Portugal.

Her film project "Verführung" ("Seduction") that she had developed together with Monika Treut, the writer of the book "Die grausame Frau" ("The Cruel Woman", 1984), based on themes from Sacher-Masoch's novel "Die grausame Frau" initially fell victim to the film politics that were tightened by the minister of the interior, Friedrich Zimmermann. Although the screenplay was positively reviewed by the responsible commission of experts, the film's subsidy was "held back" by the ministry of the interior. The film was finally realized with the support of Filmbüro Hamburg and of Filmbüro Nordrhein-Westfalen but received mixed reactions at its premiere in the 1985 International Forum for New Cinema at the Berlinale film festival.

During the following years, Elfi Mikesch predominately worked as DoP on TV and feature film documentaries, including collaborations with Werner Schroeter ("Poussières d'amour – Abfallprodukte der Liebe" / "Love's Debris", 1996; "Deux" / "Two", 2003) and Rosa von Praunheim ("Der Einstein des Sex" / "The Einstein of Sex", 1999; "Meine Mütter" / "Two Mothers", 2007; "Rosas Höllenfahrt", 2009). She also worked on films by Monika Treut ("Female Misbehaviour", 1992; "Kriegerin des Lichts", 2001; "Den Tigerfrauen wachsen Flügel" / "Tigerwomen Grow Wings", 2005) and Harald Bergmann ("Passion Hölderlin", 2004; "Brinkmanns Zorn", 2006). Over the years, she was awarded the Deutsche Kamerapreis three times: In 1986 for "Der Rosenkönig", in 1992 for "Malina", and in 2006, she received the honorary award.

At the same time, Elfi Mikesch also continued her directorial career, often taking over duties as author and DoP as well. Works from that period include the documentaries "Verrückt bleiben, verliebt bleiben" ("Mind the Gap", 1997) and "Mon Paradis - Der Winterpalast", the feature drama "Hahnemanns Medizin" (2006, TV), and the TV documentary "Zisternen - Istanbuls versunkene Paläste".

In 2011, Mikesch theatrically released the feature film documentary "Mondo Lux - Die Bilderwelten des Werner Schroeter" ("Mondo Lux – The Visual Worlds of Werner Schroeter") and directed the TV documentary "Judenburg findet Stadt".

As co-director, Mikesch contributed the segments "Ich bin ein Gedicht" and "Eva Mattes" to the compilation film "Rosas Welt" (2012, TV). Her feature film "Fieber" ("Fever", AT/LU 2014), which relates the story of a woman investigating her father's dark past in the French colonial wars, premiered in the Panorama section of the 2014 Berlin IFF and won the Special Teddy Award.

As DoP, Mikesch went on to shoot Harald Bergmann's film essay "Der Schmetterlingsjäger - 37 Karteikarten zu Nabokov" (2014), and Rosa von Praunheim's "Härte" ("Tough Love").

Filmography

2016/2017 Überleben in Neukölln
Director of photography
 
2015/2016 Welcome all Sexes - 30 Jahre Teddy Awards
Participation
 
2015-2017 ACT! - Wer bin ich?
Director of photography
 
2014/2015 Härte
Director of photography
 
2013/2014 Fieber
Director, Screenplay
 
2012 Eva Mattes
Co-Director
 
2012 Rosas Welt
Co-Director
 
2012 Ich bin ein Gedicht
Director, Screenplay
 
2012 Aladin - Weg ins Paradies
Director of photography
 
2010/2011 Mondo Lux - Die Bilderwelten des Werner Schroeter
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography
 
2010-2014 Der Schmetterlingsjäger - 37 Karteikarten zu Nabokov
Director of photography
 
2010 Judenburg findet Stadt
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography
 
2010 Ecstasy: Die Sehnsucht und Einsamkeit der Laura Stearn
Director of photography
 
2009 Rosas Höllenfahrt
Director of photography
 
2008/2009 24 h Berlin - Ein Tag im Leben
Director
 
2007/2008 Tote Schwule - Lebende Lesben
Director of photography
 
2007 Fassbinders Berlin Alexanderplatz. Ein Megafilm und seine Geschichte
Director of photography
 
2006/2007 Meine Mütter - Spurensuche in Riga
Director of photography
 
2006 Hahnemanns Medizin
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography
 
2005/2006 Brinkmanns Zorn
Director of photography
 
2005 Made in Taiwan
Director of photography
 
2004/2005 Den Tigerfrauen wachsen Flügel
Director of photography
 
2003 Ich bin der Eiffelturm
Director of photography
 
2003 Passion Hölderlin
Director of photography
 
2002-2005 D'Annunzios Höhle
Director of photography
 
2002 Pfui Rosa!
Participation
 
2001/2002 Deux
Director of photography
 
2001/2002 Mon Paradis - Der Winterpalast
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography
 
2001 Ein Fremder
Director of photography
 
2000/2001 Kriegerin des Lichts
Director of photography
 
2000 Für mich gab's nur noch Fassbinder
Director of photography
 
1999/2000 Die Markus Family
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography
 
1998/1999 Der Einstein des Sex
Director of photography
 
1998/1999 Gendernauts
Director of photography
 
1998 En la casa de dios aun hay vacantes
Editing
 
1997 Life, Love & Celluloid
Director of photography
 
1996/1997 Daily Chicken
Director of photography
 
1996/1997 Verrückt bleiben, verliebt bleiben
Participation, Director, Screenplay, Director of photography
 
1996 Stroh zu Gold
Participation
 
1995/1996 Poussières d'amour
Director of photography
 
1994/1995 Out of America
Director of photography
 
1994 Let's Talk About Sex
Director of photography
 
1993/1994 Hey Stranger
Director of photography
 
1993-1995 Gefährliche Orte
Director
 
1993 Soldaten Soldaten
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography
 
1992/1993 Female Misbehavior
Director of photography
 
1990/1991 My Father Is Coming
Director of photography
 
1990/1991 A Idade Maior
Director of photography
 
1990/1991 Malina
Director of photography
 
1989/1990 Feuer unterm Arsch
Director of photography
 
1989 Annie
Director of photography
 
1989 Marocain
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Producer
 
1987/1988 Die Jungfrauenmaschine
Director of photography, Still photography, Producer
 
1987 Anita - Tänze des Lasters
Director of photography
 
1985/1986 Ein Virus kennt keine Moral
Director of photography
 
1984/1985 Verführung: Die grausame Frau
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Producer
 
1984-1986 Der Rosenkönig
Cast, Director of photography
 
1983/1984 Horror Vacui
Director of photography
 
1983/1984 Mikado
Assistant director
 
1983 Böse zu sein ist auch ein Beweis von Gefühl
Director of photography
 
1983 Bondage
Director of photography
 
1982/1983 Die blaue Distanz
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Set design, Producer
 
1982/1983 Das Frühstück der Hyäne
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Editing, Producer
 
1982/1983 Okiana
Consultant
 
1981/1982 Macumba
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Producer
 
1981/1982 Im Jahr der Schlange
Director of photography
 
1981-1983 Canale Grande
Cast, Director of photography, Make-up artist
 
1980 Apocalypso
Director, Producer
 
1979/1980 Palermo oder Wolfsburg
Still photography
 
1979/1980 Was soll'n wir denn machen ohne den Tod
Participation, Voice, Director, Screenplay, Interviews, Director of photography, Lighting design, Editing, Producer, Location manager
 
1979-1985 Die Basis des Make-Up I
Location manager (other)
 
1979 Execution. A Study of Mary
Director, Director (other), Assistant director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Still photography, Editing, Producer
 
1977/1978 Ich denke oft an Hawaii
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Set design, Prop master, Costume design, Make-up artist, Editing, Sound, Producer, Co-Producer, Unit production manager
 
1971/1972 Leidenschaften
Director of photography, Costume design, Make-up artist, Sound
 
1971 Salome
Make-up artist
 
1970 Charisma. Eine Erinnerung an den Tod
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Costume design