Klaus Lemke

Klaus Lemke

Darsteller, Regie, Regie-Assistenz, Drehbuch, Schnitt, Produzent, Produktionsleitung
*13.10.1940 Landsberg an der Warthe (heute Gorzów Wielkopolski, Polen)

Biography

Klaus Lemke, born October 13th, 1940 in Landsberg/Warthe, is considered to be one of the most opinionated and – by his own definition – anti-intellectual film makers in Germany. He grew up in Düsseldorf and, following his Abitur, made a living with odd-jobs, including as an asphalt-worker. He abandoned his studies of art history and philosophy after six semesters.

After a number of assistant-director positions in Munich in 1963/4 (under Fritz Kortner, among others), he became a contributor to the magazine "Film" (1964/5), which went in stride with the more academic "Filmkritik" but also concerned itself with the ostracized American Genre-Cinema. In the context of the "Neue Münchner Gruppe" (New Munich Group), namely Rudolf Thome, Max Zihlman, Werner Enke and May Spils, he directed a total of six short films in 1965/6, including "Kleine Front" (Small Front) and "Das Haus am Meer" (The House on the Sea). In "König von Schwabing" (King of Schwabing), in which "coolness" was a key motif, he epitomized the lifestyle of the Munich bohemians. Concerning his political "Dilemma", he commented in retrospect: "I thought America was so very cool that I would have happily marched into Vietnam and protested against it at the exact same time."

His first feature-length film "48 Stunden bis Acapulco" (48 Hours to Acapulco, 1967) follows a dropout from Schliersee to Rome and Mexico – a man striving to hold his ground as an adventurer and gangster in the Jetset Society. In the same year "Negresco**** -- Eine tödliche Affäre" (Negresco**** -- A Deadly Affair) was released, in which an unsuccessful photographer aspires to rise above his relationship with an urbane woman in high society. Following the failure of these two cinema-released films taking place all over the world, Lemke remained, according to Ponkie, "stuck on Leopoldstraße"; shortly thereafter he began to work for television. His first film for WDR ("Brandstifter", 1968) caused a bit of a scandal: it reacted directly to the Berlin department store assault by Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader, whom Lemke personally knew.

Lemke defined himself with his energetic style, distinctive from the first Renovation-Generation of the Oberhausen-Manifest, the works of which he had already found to be "Väter-Filme" (Father-Films). The tendencies akin to those of Schlöndorff's literature-to-film adaptations disappointed him – as did exertive social obligations. In spite of his cinephillic affinities for pose and genre, which the Munich group had already differentiated from other representatives of New German Cinema, he was wholly interested in unwrought "reality". Alongside his abandonment of finely-tuned screenplays and perfect production, his work with amateur actors became his trademark. Lemke clarified this in a statement, saying that he was not interested in actors, but rather "real people" and their stories, which he happened upon in his periphery and "on the street".

Beginning in 1975, Lemke directed a number of films with Cleo Kretschmer and Wolfgang Fierek, including the Grimme-awarded "Amore" (1977/8), in which an unremarkable vegetable seller campaigns against a suburban Casanova. Lemke was also involved in a long-term intimate relationship with Cleo Kretschmer. What is more, he has come to be known as the discoverer of Iris Berben and Christine Zierl, alias "Dolly Dollar". In addition to his propensity for his adopted home (Munich) and the Bavarian province, Hamburg is an important locale for Lemke. He secured for himself a loyal cult following with his 1972 "Rocker", in which an aging, just-released petty criminal roughs up the Kiez with his motorcycle gang.

Following a carrier-hiccup as a result of a cocaine suit in the 1980s, Lemke succeeded once again in 1992 with "Die Ratte" (The Rat), which also takes place in Hamburg's red-light district. Two more of his youngest films are set in the Hanseatic City: "Träum weiter, Julia!" (Keep on Dreaming, Julia!) and "3 Minute Heroes", which is about the everyday fates of amateur actors in a 360° view of St. Pauli. He kept his small-budget "Guerilla Tactics" of filming, without sponsoring or professional actors, continually over several years of television work. "Last Minute Jamaika" (2002), about two Munich interns who vacation in the Caribbean, brought him once more as near to Acapulco as he's been since his work in the cinema began. In an entertaining interview on the occasion of his 65th birthday in 2005, he acknowledged that he could win "cool" aspects even from "uncool" Germany.

He immediately proved this in his next movie: the summer comedy "Träum weiter, Julia!". Timo Jacobs and amateur actress Julia Spitzner are playing the main characters in a story of a young woman who tries to conquer the heart of a notorious womanizer with a quite uncommon trick. With his anthology film "3 Minuten Heroes" which plays in the redlight district of Hamburg and "Finale", a love story between an actress whose star is rising and a young prostitute, he likewise remained true to his improvising style and once more worked almost exclusively with amateur actors. In "Undercover Ibiza" he tells a classic threesome story: Lemke plays a retired colonel who, while pretending to search for his missing son, seduces his son's girlfriend.

With "Dancing with Devils" (2008) he again shot a vibrant genre film in this typical and unique style which is Klaus Lemke's trademark. The main character of the movie is a young woman, who after having been released from prison tries to start a new life in Hamburg's redlight district. But she can't escape her past, since the revengeful girlfriend of the man whom she watched dying without interfering is chasing her. With "Schmutziger Süden" (2010) Lemke returned to Munich and tells the story of a young man from Hamburg who came to this renowned city in southern Germany in order to seduce beautiful women. But all too soon he has to realize, that girls nowadays are very different from what they used to be.

Filmography

2016/2017 Making Judith!
Cast, Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
2016/2017 Offene Wunde Deutscher Film
Participation
 
2015/2016 Zeigen was man liebt
Participation
 
2014-2016 Unterwäschelügen
Director, Screenplay
 
2014-2016 Verfluchte Liebe Deutscher Film
Participation
 
2013 Kein großes Ding
Director, Screenplay
 
2011/2012 Berlin für Helden
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
2011 3 Kreuze für einen Bestseller
Director, Screenplay
 
2011 13 X Glück
Director
 
2009/2010 Schmutziger Süden
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
2007/2008 Dancing with Devils
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
2006/2007 Finale
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
2005/2006 Er sollte tot ...
Cast
 
2005 Die Quereinsteigerinnen
Cast
 
2005 Träum weiter, Julia!
Director, Screenplay
 
2003 Die weiss-blaue Leichtigkeit des Seins
Participation
 
2002 Last Minute Jamaika
Director, Screenplay
 
2001/2002 Running Out of Cool
Cast, Director, Screenplay
 
2001/2002 Never Go to Goa
Participation, Director, Screenplay
 
2000/2001 Die Leopoldstrasse Kills Me
Participation, Director, Screenplay
 
1998 Rasta-basta
Director
 
1995 Das Flittchen und der Totengräber
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1993 Das Sahara-Projekt
Cast
 
1993 Peter Przygodda, Schnittmeister
Participation
 
1992/1993 Die Ratte
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1992 Wir Enkelkinder
Cast
 
1990/1991 Bis ans Ende der Nacht
Cast
 
1988/1989 Ein verhexter Sommer
Director
 
1988 Zockerexpress
Director, Screenplay
 
1985/1986 Bibos Männer
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1985 Der Formel Eins Film
Cast
 
1984/1985 Das Wunder
Cast
 
1982/1983 Der Kleine
Cast, Director, Screenplay
 
1981 Wie die Weltmeister
Director, Screenplay
 
1980 Flitterwochen
Director, Screenplay
 
1980 Douglas Sirk : Über Stars
Participation
 
1979 Arabische Nächte
Director, Screenplay
 
1978/1979 Der Allerletzte!
Director, Screenplay
 
1978/1979 Ein komischer Heiliger
Director, Screenplay
 
1977/1978 Amore
Director, Screenplay
 
1977 Moto-Cross
Director, Screenplay
 
1976/1977 Die Sweethearts
Director, Screenplay
 
1975 Idole
Director, Screenplay
 
1974/1975 Teenager-Liebe
Director, Screenplay
 
1974 Paul
Director, Screenplay
 
1973 Sylvie
Cast, Director, Screenplay
 
1972 Der Mafia-Boss - Sie töten wie Schakale
Assistant director
 
1971/1972 Rocker
Director, Screenplay
 
1971 Liebe so schön wie Liebe
Cast, Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1970/1971 Terror Desire
Cast
 
1970/1971 Supergirl
Cast
 
1970 Mein schönes kurzes Leben
Cast, Director, Screenplay
 
1970 Eine Rose für Jane
Cast
 
1969/1970 Ein großer graublauer Vogel
Cast
 
1969 Brandstifter
Cast, Director, Screenplay
 
1969 Der Kerl liebt mich - und das soll ich glauben?
Screenplay
 
1968/1969 Die Geschäftsfreunde
Cast
 
1968 Ein anständiges Mädchen
Cast, Director
 
1968 Anatahan, Anatahan
Cast
 
1967/1968 Negresco **** - Eine tödliche Affäre
Director, Screenplay
 
1967 Sabine 18
Cast
 
1967 Galaxis
Cast
 
1967 48 Stunden bis Acapulco
Director
 
1967 Auftrag ohne Nummer
Cast, Unit production manager
 
1967 Die Kapitulation
Cast
 
1966/1967 Operation Grünwald
Cast
 
1966 Ein Haus am Meer
Director, Screenplay, Editing
 
1966 Flug 601
Cast, Unit production manager
 
1966 Der Brief
Cast
 
1966 Duell
Director, Screenplay, Editing
 
1966 Henker Tom
Director, Screenplay, Editing
 
1966 Flipper
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1965/1966 Kleine Front
Director, Screenplay, Editing
 
1965/1966 Drei
Director, Screenplay
 
1965 Frühstück in Rom
Cast, Producer
 
1964 Die Versöhnung
Cast, Screenplay, Editing, Producer