Thirty years after his death, Joseph Beuys looks like a visionary who was, and still is, ahead of his time. He was the first German artist to have a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, at a time when his work was often still being derided back home in Germany as “the most expensive trash of all time”. In the documentary Beuys, Andres Veiel lets the artist speak for himself. Using previously unpublished audio and video footage, Veiel creates an associative, permeable portrait that—like the artist himself—opens up spaces for ideas rather than making declarative statements. In the film, Beuys boxes, converses, lectures, explains art to a dead hare, and asks: “Do you really want a revolution without laughter?”
“Three years in the making, Beuys takes some, at least, of its stylistic cues from its restlessly creative subject, eschewing a conventional, chronological biopic approach for a more impressionistic collage that makes only sparing use of talking heads interviews…In the end, the film is just as interested in Beuys the thinker, activist and German Green Party founder member, the generous teacher, a man whose engagement with social issues and agit-prop attacks on the power of big money anticipate the ideas and methods of Occupy Wall Street and other recent grass-roots protest movements” (Lee Marshall, Screen Daily).
DOCUMENTARY, GERMANY, 2017
DIRECTED BY ANDRES VEIEL
CAST: JOSEPH BEUYS, CAROLINE TISDALL
RUNNING TIME: 107