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Alfred Kaiser: Decomposing Nazi Phraseology

Alfred Kaiser

Year: 2018, 54 mins
Code: IN-Alfred

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"Twelve years of Fascism. An enormous social effort which continues to preoccupy us" 
(Hartmut Bitomsky, 1983)

In the second half of the 1970s Alfred Kaiser was entirely unknown to the film world when he went public with two films, namely A Third Reich (1975) and A Third Reich from Its Refuse (1977). Both compilation films bridge the threshold between avant-garde and documentary cinema and were enthusiastically received by audiences and film critics alike upon their release. To this day, these two closely related films occupy a place of particular significance in the history of Austrian cinema, not least due to their subject matter and compositional virtuosity

Kaiser took footage solely from the era of Nazi film production to make both films which each have a running time of just under 30 minutes. He constellated an evocative montage of image and sound from an abundance of excerpts gleaned from cultural, industrial and feature films as well as propagandistic Nazi newsreels and amateur movies from the 1930s and 1940s.

A Third Reich and A Third Reich from Its Refuse are multifaceted compositions that derive from an analytical collision of image and sound metaphors. In brief, their conceptual critique equally serves as an attempt to illustrate and demolish the world of Nazi thought and imagery.

1975, 16mm, b/w, 28 min 


1977, 16mm, b/w, 26 min  


Alfred Kaiser:

Born 1940 in Vienna. Filmmaker, painter, musician and writer.

Within a period of four years, Alfred Kaiser made four extraordinary films, namely his two virtuoso found footage compilations A Third Reich (1975) and A Third Reich from Its Refuse, (1976/77); a complex panorama of the imperial era entitled Caesarean Section – an Operetta (1977); and Zetteldämmerung (Warp Twilight, 1979), an unusual artist portrait of the poet Christian Ide Hintze.

At the end of the 1980s Alfred Kaiser gave up all hope of producing films after numerous skirmishes with Austrian film funding committees and returned to painting and music. He retired from the film world entirely and moved to the countryside, first to Hausbrunn and later to Austria´s Waldviertel. Alfred Kaiser´s death on March 27, 1994 went unnoticed by the general public.

"Twelve years of Fascism. An enormous social effort which continues to preoccupy us" (Hartmut Bitomsky, 1983)

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