Daily | Peter Liechti, 1951 – 2014

Peter Liechti

Peter Liechti

Via Benjamin Heisenberg‘s post for Revolver, an essential German-language film journal, we learn that Swiss filmmaker Peter Liechti passed away on Friday at the age of 63. Heisenberg’s added a clip from an interview he and Hannes Brühwiler conducted with Liechti just a few weeks ago as well as links to reports in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the Tages-Anzeiger. He also calls Liechti “one of the most exciting filmmakers in Europe and a wonderfully vital, creative and funny man who sadly leaves us far too soon, in the midst of the blossoming of his creativity.”

The Doc Alliance notes that Liechti studied art history in Zurich, began making film experiments and performances in 1983 and, since 1986, had been working as a freelance screenwriter, cameraman and director. His films have won awards in Locarno, Torino and several other festivals, and Rotterdam staged a retrospective of his work in 2009. “For Liechti, ‘documentarity’ is a basis for the construction of a fascinating film species that resists any classification.”

The Arsenal has just wrapped its own Liechti retrospective here in Berlin, noting that “all his films—the early Super 8 experiments, numerous projects with the performance artist Roman Signer, his music and travel films and autobiographical works—bear testimony to the fact that for his cinematic poetry the other arts and their techniques are of fundamental importance: Contemporary music and jazz, visual art, as well as literature, poetry, texts, language. His film essays emerge in the space between multilayered images, the spoken and written word, as well as music and sound—which are all elements on an equal footing. Liechti’s narrative approach is always personal, his view is one that does not presume to understand the world from the outset and take it for granted.”

Liechti’s site has an English section and Swissfilms has posted a monograph in English, originally written in 2004 (PDF).

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