Das Arturo-Projekt (The Arturo Project)
"The gangster play that we present is known to our whole continent.” With these lines, the narrator clears the arena for Brecht's play “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui”, a play that seems to be alarmingly relevant today. And this is exactly why it needs a revival, claims the late theatre director Uwe Bertram in Robert Fischer's insightful documentary “The Arturo Project”. The film is the result of a collaboration between the Theater an der Wasserburg, the stilt theatre Die Stelzer, the small family circus Boldini, and a group of gifted musicians. What starts out as a collaboration of very different artists with defined roles, more and more develops into real interaction, in which the performers learn from each other and change along the way; even art and life sometimes swap roles. Through interviews, performance clips, footage of the artists’ shared life and work, and the visualization of the political context, the filmmaker captivates while highlighting the truly contagious commitment of the performers. The audience dives into a Felliniesque world of revue-like numbers, artistry, and dreamlike moments that happen both inside and outside the tent. A grandiose spectacle, but one that does not ignore the dark truth of Arturo Ui. "Therefore, learn how to see and not to gape," warns the narrator in the play’s epilogue - Robert Fischer's film shows how art can teach us to see.
Robert Fischer started writing about film in the mid-1970s. With his books on Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Jodie Foster, Bernhard Wicki, Jean-Pierre Melville, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Robert Bresson, André Bazin and François Truffaut, he soon became one of Germany’s foremost film historians. After a five-year stint as vice director at the Munich Film Museum, where he participated in the reconstruction of Orson Welles’ unfinished films, he switched to filmmaking in 1999. His documentary "Monsieur Truffaut Meets Mr. Hitchcock" (1999) was screened at the Cinemathèque Française in Paris, at New York’s Film Forum and at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles. Fischer’s documentary "Milos Forman: Film is Truth" (2000) opened the Forman retrospective at the Munich Film Festival. "Fassbinder in Hollywood" (2002) and "Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin" (2006) were both screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.