Joseph Vilsmaier

Joseph Vilsmaier:


He was a cameraman, director and producer, self-taught and self-made success man with a feel for the big stories. The Urbayer Joseph Vilsmaier died.

Joseph Vilsmaier's last film project was about Gevatter's death. The Bavarians maintain a morbid sense of humour when dealing with him.

They call him Boandlkramer - which means "bone trader". Together with Bully Herbig, the Bavarian filmmaker made a romance to death.

"Der Boandlkramer und die Eternige Liebe" has been turned since December, probably already largely finished.

In January Vilsmaier presented scenes from the comedy at the Munich Film Week. But he will no longer experience the premiere of his long-awaited project.

The Boandlkramer has now torn Joseph Vilsmaier himself out of work. If Vilsmaier had made a film about Vilsmaier, an autobiography, this conclusion would have suited him.

As a punch line. Vilsmaier could be laconic. He could say a lot in just a few words. This artist wrote stories with pictures.

He studied for a long time. Nine years. This was not unusual when Joseph Vilsmaier was young. He studied music with a focus on piano.

Nine years, that's 18 semesters - an unbelievable amount of time by today's standards. Vilsmaier not only used them for practising the piano, but he also didn't want to be a piano teacher or accompanist at a theatre.

He used the time to study life and people and he worked in film. Consistent as he was, he turned to film after graduating from the conservatory.

Some cellists succeed as conductors. And ball boys who become soccer stars. And secretaries who write bestsellers.

It also happened with Joseph Vilsmaier, as it had to come with such talent: From technical assistant in the film studio, he rose to cameraman. And then the cameraman wanted more.

He dared to stage the actors himself and not only film stories, but also tell them. "Film," he said once, "that's emotion."

One of his great skills was to record great emotions in small gestures, to pass them on to the viewer and to evoke their compassion.

He used this method especially for historical fabrics, for his first film "Herbstmilch" in 1988 as well as for the successor "Rama dama" three years later and for the anti-war film "Stalingrad" (1993).

In "Herbstmilch", a peasant drama from Lower Bavaria, where he grew up, he made a memorial to the generation of his parents and grandparents - those who had resisted the Nazis.

Vilsmaier was a nostalgic man who bowed to people who had survived under adverse circumstances and had retained their decency and empathy.

He also stayed true to this line in the large-scale production "Comedian Harmonists". He could rely on his feeling for speaking details. With Vilsmaier an artist is to be mourned, to whom theories were quite alien.

He spoke from the gut. And because he trusted his intuition so much that he didn't let anyone talk him into it, at most his wife Dana Vávrová, who died of cancer eleven years ago, because he was a thoroughly independent and shirtless Bavarian autocrat before the Lord God and wanted to stay, he founded his own production company.

Nobody would have gotten any good who wanted to slow down Sepp, as his colleagues called him, in his irrepressible energy.

The success proved him right. The business was profitable, the prices increased. The Urbayer Vilsmaier was honoured in Finland and Japan, in Uruguay, Vienna and Berlin.

"The Boandlkramer and Eternal Love", with Bully Herbig, Hannah Herzsprung and Hape Kerkeling as Teufel, should be released in November.

Herbig's idea is a continuation of the "History of Brandner Kaspar", which Vilsmaier shot in 2008. An old smallholder tricks the Boandlkramer and extends his life - Vilsmaier loved this story.

The news came on Wednesday that the film artist and belly man Joseph Vilsmaier died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was 81 years old.

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