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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


a film made by Wolfgang Held and Volker Euler
(video by heldrap)

1992 humorous short film by Wolfgang Held and Volker Euler about their love-hate relationship with Sydney, Australia, as young German travelers. Title song, Life is Wunderbar, written and performed by the 2 filmmakers.

It is an unexpected gem, this 14-minute movie, fresh and with an irresistible rhythm: a bit Expressionist (as the two guys came from Germany, with a deep understanding of the film universe there), a bit Commedia dell'arte (the two guys having a very sure taste in building the perfect environment for their story), and telling volumes about the pure joy in making this movie - two guys very knowledgeable in all cinema stuff, and absolutely happy that the camera was playing with them.

The two make an interesting couple. Volker Euler has a special kind of humor that calls in mind Tom Hanks, while Wolfgang Held is the Commedia dell'arte type, Buratino and Karabas-Barabas in the same time (if you know the story of Aleksey Tolstoy), enchanting, somehow naughty, and even potentially mischievous.

Wolfgang came firstly to Sydney and was charmed by the place: the cityscape was transforming his window into a picture postcard. So he persuaded Volker to come, describing Sydney as the city where everybody was driving in open cars, nobody worked and everybody had money. Volker came there, to find out that there were no jobs and and there were no money. In the following months the two guys kept on searching for a job, any job, while keeping spirits up (as it should have been at their young age). Eventually Wolfgang came out to the conclusion that they should go back to their country.

After some years Wolfgang came again to Sydney and found his old friend. He persuaded him in making a movie, to reenact their story.

Wolfgang Held and Volker Euler were producers, writers, directors, editors, and actors in this movie. Among the people who helped one way or another in the making of this film it was also Pola Rapaport. As an interesting detail, LIFE IS WUNDERBAR is the only movie of Wolfgang where he is not also the Director of Photography.

What happened with the two guys later in life? Twenty years passed since 1992, when the movie was made. I looked on the web to find information about Volker Euler. He remained in Sydney, where he is the North Sydney College Association Executive Officer. Among other responsibilities, he coordinates Worldly Soles, a charity organization. Wolfgang Held is now a well-known DP. He lives in New York and remained the same enthusiastic guy as he was in LIFE IS WUNDERBAR.

Did their adventure have a sense? Says Wolfgang, human beings cannot live without dreams; we need to venture to countries beyond the horizon; and though, our travels might never find the perfect place; keep on moving to this universe, until you find your final.

(Wolfgang Held)

(Pola Rapaport)

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