Alexander Kluge

Professional provocateur in mainstream television

In my opinion, the outstanding quality of an author is the attention with which he can select one image from a wide range of social phenomena, which then acts as a crystallised moment.

Alexander Kluge in an interview with Ulrich Gregor, 1976

In spite of successfully completing a doctorate in law, at the end of the 1950’s Alexander Kluge turned his attention to the arts. After an internship at the CCC-Film production company, he directed Abschied von gestern (Yesterday Girl) in 1960 – one of the key works that helped to shape the style of New German Cinema and in 1962 Kluge was one of the signatories of the Oberhausen Manifesto, the programmatic foundation document of the movement. With the slogan “Dad’s cinema is dead” the group of young film-makers strived to create a new form of socially critical film beyond the confines of entertainment genre films and which was also to be characterised by experiments in form. In addition to other films, Kluge also published short stories as well as essays. In Öffentlichkeit und Erfahrung (Publicity and Experience) published in 1972which he wrote together with sociologist Oskar Negt, he compared the media consumption of the classical-era public and its characteristics of uniqueness and durability with the fleeting repeatability of electronic media.

With the advent of privately-owned television channels in Germany in the 1980s, Alexander Kluge shifted the main focus of his creative talent to the small screen and ever since he has been subverting the expectations of the public with the unusual programmes of his dctp production company. With his documentaries, which are unconventional in terms of both style and content and especially his interviews, which are sometimes staged and sometimes real, Kluge’s TV output varies between the provocative, informative and comic. He was awarded the Grand Federal Cross of Merit in 2007.