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dir. Werner Nekes / FRG 1980 / 94’
subtitles: Polish and English


Volkhart Armin Wölfl, Tabea Bloomenschein, Russel Denton, Shehzad Abbas


Mannheim IFF 1982 – Goldener Filmdukat; London IFF 1982 – Film of the Year; German Film Critics Award 1984 – Best Film; Ann Arbor IFF 1986 – Best Experimental Feature

Film description

Uliisses is an exceptional work within Werner Nekes’ filmography. The director who made anti-narrative the basis of his cinematographic work now tries his hand at literary material. Three works inspired the script: Homer’s Odyssey, James Joyce’s Ulysses and the experimental 22-hour performance of Neil Oram’s play The Warp. Nekes weaves fragments of this performance into a story that chronicles a journey through life and through the history of cinema. In successive episodes whose titles echo the adventures of Odysseus, we follow the journey of the protagonists: Odysseus/Bloom is Uli, a photographer from Rhur, Penelope/Molly is his model, and Telemachus/Stephen Dedalus is projected by Phil – a protagonist in Oram’s play. Dialogues from the literary prototypes intermingle with images of modern England and Germany, while theatrical scenes meld with the experimental cinematography inherent in Nekes’ films. Uliisses is one of the most formally radical works by the German artist, exhibiting his style at its most accomplished, but also showing his sense of humour. It is a transformation of literature into Lichteratur – it is writing with light.

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