Alexander Kluge (born 14 February 1932, Halberstadt, Saxony-Anhalt) is a noted film director and author.
After growing up during the Second World War, he studied law, history and music at the universities of Marburg and Frankfurt am Main, receiving his doctorate in law in 1956. While studying in Frankfurt, Kluge befriended the philosopher Theodor Adorno, who had returned to Germany and was teaching at the Institute for Social Research, or Frankfurt School. Kluge served as a legal counsel for the Institute, and began writing his earliest stories during this period. At Adorno’s suggestion, he also began to investigate filmmaking, and in 1958, Adorno introduced him to German filmmaker Fritz Lang.
Kluge directed his first film in 1960, Brutalität im Stein (Brutality in Stone), a 12-minute, black and white, lyrical montage work which, against the German commercial (Papa’s Kino) cinematic amnesia of the prior decade, inaugurated an exploration of the Nazi past. The film premiered… read more
Alexander Kluge’s “Strongman Ferdinand” (1977) – When Today’s “Rich-Men Ferdinands” Were Occupied With Direct Power/Control Over the Population How Freaks of National Security Ideology Become Terrorists and Violators of Human Rights “Strongman Ferdinand” by Alexander Kluge (1977) is a detailed depiction of the psychology of a right-wing functionary, a person who has only one goal in life – to subdue other people in order to serve his rich masters as efficiently as possible. He is afraid that people’s democratic freedoms will be used by them as a cover for their desire to subvert his government and his security zones, and he is spying on people in order to trap them, arrest, interrogate, torture and force them to confess their criminal intentions. For Ferdinand serious culture (cultivating independent thinking) and democracy (cultivating versatility of life styles) are nothing but swamps breeding anarchic monsters. Ferdinand’s bizarre destiny is to shift from being an anti-terrorist to becoming a terrorist himself, to blur the very distinction between anti-terrorism and terrorism. For him advanced anti-terrorist activity includes terrorist activity as a part of itself. The logic of transformation of anti-terrorism into terrorism is analyzed by Kluge’s film with a prophetic power. Kluge made this film with stylized asceticism to emphasize the deadly boredom of his anti-hero’s universe, his emotional poverty and pathological limitations of his imagination. In personal relations Ferdinand is practically autistic; the absence of any eroticism makes him, in order to satisfy his sexual needs, to resort to persistent manipulation of women. His cultural horizon is identical wit his job description. He combines the psychological features of conservative dogmatists and the Soviet functionaries of communist doctrine. Kluge’s main point is that totalitarianism is a function of cultural illiteracy. Victor Enyutin