By Elisabeth Pfeiffer ’15, Contributing Writer German filmmaker Oliver Kienle visited Scripps College on Thursday Oct. 20 to present a film screening of his latest project, Bis Aufs Blut— Brüder auf Bewährung (Closer than Blood: Brothers on Probation). This special event, hosted by the German Department, was attended by many students and faculty from the Claremont Colleges.
Kienle originally studied German Literature at Julius-Maximilian University in Würzburg, and also worked part time for a commercial film producer in the area. Kienle wrote several novels prior to becoming involved in writing and producing films. When schoolteachers told him that they found the dialogue in his books better than the other content, Kienle took their suggestions to heart and, starting in 2001, took them up on their suggestions that he try screen writing.
His first endeavor was a short called Falschrum, which Kienle wrote, directed and produced. Over the next three years, Kienle created 14 films, eight of which were presented at German and international film festivals. Kienle has won many awards for his films, including awards for Best Director and Best Actor for his film Lichtpause in 2004 and the German Youth Video Prize for Blaue Stunde in 2005. In 2010, Kienle graduated from the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy. Bis Aufs Blut—Brüder auf Bewährung served as Kienle’s final project for the academy.
A coming-of-age film, Bis Aufs Blut—Brüder auf Bewährung is based off of experiences that friends of Kienle have gone through. The film follows the story of Tommy and Sule, best friends who, despite different social and cultural backgrounds, have always been like brothers. After someone reports to the police that Tommy has drugs in his house, Tommy spends six months in jail and must re-evaluate how he has been living his life. Hoping to break out of the cycle of drugs and violence, he decides to become a physics teacher. In order to pursue this new life, Tommy must evaluate the importance of his relationship with Sule, which is the only element of his life that remains an obstacle to Tommy’s reformation.
Kienle’s fast-paced film was a success among the viewers at the Claremont Colleges.
After the viewing, students and faculty had the opportunity to ask Kienle questions about the film. In this question-and-answer session, Kienle said that he wanted to raise awareness about the problems dealt with by young people in his film.
Kienle also said that he believes punishments for drug dealing in Germany should be stricter to discourage German youth from participating in the harmful subculture surrounding drugs.
For his next project, Kienle is working on a thriller. The Scripps College German Department hopes to bring in more guests for similar events in the future.
For more information on Kienle’s films, visit http://www.oliver- kienle.de/oliver1/index.html.