PETER LIECHTI (1951-2014)
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Sights And Sounds - Peter Liechti's Filmic Journeys

by Constantin Wulff

The Swiss filmmaker Peter Liechti is always travelling. In his films he casts an ironic and critical gaze on his own country, criss-crosses Europe from East to, West and from North to South, or passionately discovers the African continent, On one journey he will be alone. preoccupied with himself and his obsessions, but keeping eyes and ears open for landscapes, colors. forms and unusual encounters. On another, he accompanies musicians, visuals artists or other bright spirits, whom he joins on their adventures, joyfully letting them under his skin and allowing him to develop a different perspective on the world, If one were to try to find a common denominator in Liechti's work - no easy task - it might be this: the filmmaker from eastern Switzerland understands the cinema as an art form which makes it possible to cross boundaries, in a number of different ways.

Right from the start, Liechti's films introduced a new tone of voice into the Swiss documentary film tradition, His earliest works, made in the late 1980s, reveal how creatively Liechti weaves together documentary and imaginary material: in the form of playful essays (A Trip to the Mountains/Ausflug ins Gebirg, 1986), as a radical polemic about world politics (Théatre de l'Espérance, 1987), in complex sound/image constructions within the genre of the music film (Kick that habit, 1989), or as vivid reflections on the conditions of politically committed cinema (Grimsel, 1990). 

Liechti's interest in surprising experiments and his search for relevant forms of expression ultimately led to his first masterpiece, which brought him international recognition: Signers Suitcase (Signers Koffer, 1996), a portrait of the St, Gallen sculptor and visual artist Roman Signer. It is a polyphonic filmic composition, a virtuoso montage of the acoustic and the visual into new, continually surprising cinematographic moments. Made over a period of four years and in close exchange with Signer and his wondrous universe, Signers Suitcase exemplifies Liechti's entire body of work: a film that documents a wholly independent spirit.

With his subsequent documentary films Liechti continued to pursue this path - and as a result is considered one of the most interesting Swiss filmmakers working today. In Lucky Jack (Hans im Glück, 2003) he chronicled his attempts to, quit smoking by undertaking gruelling hiking trips, Liechti documents his struggles with addiction as an autobiographical passage between Zurich, where he now lives, and his birthplace St, Gallen: a film diary which derives its energies out of the tension between social norms and defiant stubbornness, Like all of Liechti's films, Lucky Jack is at its most fundamental level a complex narrative about the relationship between an individual and his society. 

In Namibia Crossings (2004), his most recent film to date, this confrontation is a central theme, Liechti accompanies the Hambana Sound Company, a diverse multicultural group of musicians and singers, on a concert tour across Namibia, The film documents an ambitious musical project (which grew out of a local workshop), the aim of which is not only to bring together the most various musical styles - from classical through jazz to traditional African music - but also to provoke a fundamental encounter between cultures, Using only minimal commentary, Liechti records the results of this artistic experiment: both the successful, mostly musical, moments, as well as the worsening conflicts within this heterogeneous ensemble. The film is not a chronicle of a failure: on the contrary, it points out the difficulties of the continuing need for self-determination in a globalized world.

(2004)

 

Index Texts


 Books, Editions 
»Peter Liechti – DEDICATIONS« (Scheidegger&Spiess Zürich, 2016)
Peter Liechti: »Klartext. Fragen an meine Eltern« (Vexer Verlag St.Gallen, 2013) *)
Peter Liechti: »Lauftext - ab 1985« (Vexer Verlag St.Gallen, 2010) *)
Peter Liechti: Waldschrat. Sechsteilige Fotoserie (Vexer Verlag St.Gallen, 2011)

 By Peter Liechti 
Carte Blanche Peter Liechti (Jahresbericht ARF/FDS 2011; deutsch)
Carte Blanche Peter Liechti (Rapport annuel ARF/FDS 2011; français)
«Viel zu wenige Künstler stürzen ab» (Peter Liechti im Gespräch mit Marcel Elsener)
»Kinodokumentarfilm – Fernsehdokumentarfilm« – Text zur Rencontre ARF/FDS 2006 von Peter Liechti
«Le documentaire de cinéma – le documentarie de télévision» – Texte pour la Rencontre ARF/FDS 2006 de Peter Liechti
Es boomt um den Schweizer Film, von Peter Liechti, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 30.Juni 2000
Dunkle Stirnen, helle Geister, von Peter Liechti, Tages Anzeiger, September 1997

 About Peter Liechti 
Von Menschen und Hasen (Alexander Weil in www.literaturkritik.de)
Im weitesten Winkel (Bert Rebhandl in FRIEZE)
The Wanderer (Bert Rebhandl in FRIEZE)
Die Kunst des Abschieds (Christoph Egger, Ansprache Gedenkfeier St.Gallen
Konfrontationen mit dem innern Dämon (Christoph Egger, Nachruf in der NZZ)
Der Einzel-, Doppel- und Dreifachgänger (Christoph Egger, Filmbulletin 1/2014)
Im Luftschiff mit Peter Liechti (Tania Stöcklin, Katalog Solothurner Filmtage 2014)
En dirigeable avec Peter Liechti (Tania Stöcklin, Catalogue Journées de Soleure 2014)
Open-Ended Experiments (Matthias Heeder, Katalog DOK Leipzig 2013)
Offene Versuchsanordnung (Matthias Heeder, Katalog DOK Leipzig 2013)
Peter Liechti, Sismographe (Bernard Tappolet, Le Courrier, 3 septembre 2011)
Laudatio auf Peter Liechti (Fredi M. Murer, Kunstpreis der Stadt Zürich)
Landschaften, befragt, mit Einzel-Gänger (Christoph Egger, Laudatio Kulturpreis St.Gallen)
Kino zum Blättern? Jein! (Florian Keller)
Das grosse alte Nichts heraushören – und es geniessen (Adrian Riklin)
«Sans la musique, la vieserait une erreur» – Collages et ruptures pour Peter Liechti (Nicole Brenez)
Tönende Rillen (Josef Lederle)
The Visual Music of Swiss Director Peter Liechti (Peter Margasak)
A Cinematic Poetics of Resistance (Piero Pala)
Aus dem Moment heraus abheben – Peter Liechtis Filme (Bettina Spoerri, NZZ, 19.8.2008)
Sights and Sounds – Peter Liechti's Filmic Journeys, by Constantin Wulff
Letter from Jsaac Mathes
Passage durch die Kinoreisen des Peter Liechti (Constantin Wulff)
Gespräch mit Peter Liechti (Constantin Wulff)
Tracking Peter Liechti's cinematic journeys (Constantin Wulff)
Interview with Peter Liechti (Constantin Wulff)
Interview zu »Namibia Crossings«, in: Basler Zeitung, 23.9.2004
Dokumentarische Haltung. Zu »Hans im Glück«, in: NZZ, 2004
Jäger, Forscher oder Bauer, Interview von Irene Genhart mit Peter Liechti, Stehplatz, April 1996
Excursions dans le paysage, de Michel Favre, Drôle de vie, numéro 8, Dezember 1990
Duckmäuse im Ödland, von Marianne Fehr, WoZ Nr.21, 23.Mai 1990

  Diverses 
Gedenkanlass im Filmpodium Zürich -- in Vorbereitung

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*)
 Inhalt Peter Liechti: «Lauftext – ab 1985» 

Sprechtext zum Film AUSFLUG INS GEBIRG, 1985
Zwei Versuche aus dem Jahr 1987
«Unrast», Arbeitstexte zu MARTHAS GARTEN, 1988 ‑ 1989
Reisenotizen aus den USA, 1990
Logbuch 1995 ‑ 1997
Logbuch 1998 ‑ 1999
Reisenotizen aus dem Südsudan, 1999
Recherchen Namibia, Rohtexte zu NAMIBIA CROSSINGS, 1999
Erstes ungekürztes Marschtagebuch zu HANS IM GLÜCK, 1999
Logbuch 2000 ‑ 2001
Zweites ungekürztes Marschtagebuch zu HANS IM GLÜCK, 2000
Drittes ungekürztes Marschtagebuch zu HANS IM GLÜCK, 2001
Logbuch 2002
Logbuch 2003
Logbuch 2004
Logbuch 2005
Logbuch 2006
Logbuch 2007
Logbuch 2008
Logbuch 2009
Logbuch 2010 (bis Mai)


Details zum Buch

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