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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wolfgang Held

It was one evening in the early 80's, in Sidney. One guy was sitting on the sidewalk, playing the guitar. The other one was passing with an alert rhythm, mumbling lines from Shakespeare, as he was dreaming to become a classic actor.

That's the way Wolfgang and Achilles met for the first time.

I met Achilles for the first time just a couple of days ago, in Manhattan, and we started immediately to chat about Sidney (as the place that's too American) and Melbourne (as a place with an European style), about Cairo and Arabic literature (Achilles used to speak in his youth pretty good Arabic, as he had been born in Egypt). I had in front of me one of the finest fellows I have ever met.

I wanted to tell you all this about Achilles; he's one of the oldest friends of Wolfgang.

Wolfgang Held: born in Germany, spent a couple of years in his early twenties to travel around the world, in India, in Australia, in some other countries, doing in each place the most diverse jobs to support himself and playing in the evenings his guitar (he still plays the guitar; sometimes he meets with friends in some bar in Brooklyn, just to improvise).

He returned to Germany and studied American literature, then he entered the movie industry.

He's been living for many years in New York and became one of the very well known cinematographers. I will name just a handful of his movies, totally at random: BrĂ¼no, Carrier, Ripe, Criminal, The Tic Code, Children Underground, Teeth, Blind Light, Broken Meat.

And he traveled for his shootings all over the world again. I met him firstly in Bucharest where he was shooting Children Underground. And I remember he was telling me a story about him shooting in Beijing a documentary about an old brewery founded in China by Germans: Tsingtao. He's currently living in Brooklyn in a building that replaced an old brewery.


(German and Nordic Cinema)



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