Hans Jürgen Syberberg and His Film of Wagner's Parsifal By Solveig Olsen
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University Press of America
$63.00 Paper 0-7618-3376-5 Dec 2005 564pp
While much has been published abroad about the German filmmaker and author Hans Jürgen Syberberg, this is the first English monograph about him. Author Solveig Olsen presents a biographical overview of the controversial artist and his body of work, and offers an in-depth analysis of Syberberg's film of Richard Wagner's Parsifal and his later works.
Syberberg gained international fame as a filmmaker with the films of his "German Cycle," which included Our Hitler, a study of the Hitler potential in human nature. Parsifal of 1982 concluded the German Cycle. Preserving Wagner's libretto and score, the film uses the visual component to imbue the work with a surprising interpretation. In addition to the medieval story about the Grail seeker, the director draws on several other frames of reference, such as the theories of Freud and Jung, alchemy, and Syberberg's main aesthetic views and philosophy that have gone unrecognized until now. Olsen explores the role of Parsifal as Wagner's artistic and philosophical testament, and the implications of Syberberg's reinterpretation.

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