Michael Hamburger – Ein englischer Dichter aus Deutschland

By Frank Wierke

Focus Literature

Michael Hamburger, born in Berlin in 1924, emigrated in 1933 with his family to Great Britain. His grandmother remained and was murdered. He returns to Germany as an officer of the British Army in 1945. There is no question of staying. He was forever marked by the consequences of "this damned bilingualism" (Michael Hamburger). Out of respect to Hamburger and his wife Anne Beresford, lyricist and actress, Frank Wierke decided to shoot this film only by himself, without a crew, with minimal equipment, without artificial lighting or a tripod, and without any mise en scene or interviews. This considerate strategy was an attempt not to disturb the poet during his crucial daily rhythm at home in his house and garden in Middleton, Suffolk. This film is a careful and poetic portrait of the great English lyricist and translator, who died on June 7th, 2007 (shortly after the premiere of the film at the Goethe Institute in London).

“This film especially moved me, because as we follow the writer through the different seasons of the year and when he guides us through his house and garden, it is without any indiscretion that we watch him lying on his sofa. In addition to all the poetic and historical ‘instructions’ one gets a sense of how humans and objects can get older and thereby seem to become more alive." (from an E-mail by Ingo Schulze, Writer, Member of the Academy of Arts, August 2007)