- Not to be confused with Alexandra Kluge
Alexandra Kluge is a German actress. and physician.-Filmography:*Abschied von Gestern as Anita*Feuerlöscher E.A. Winterstein...
, his sister and a film actress.
(born 14 February 1932) is an author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...
and film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...
Early life, education and early career
Kluge was born in Halberstadt
Halberstadt is a town in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt and the capital of the district of Harz. It is located on the German Half-Timbered House Road and the Magdeburg–Thale railway....
Saxony-Anhalt is a landlocked state of Germany. Its capital is Magdeburg and it is surrounded by the German states of Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia.Saxony-Anhalt covers an area of...
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
After growing up during World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, he studied history
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...
at the University of Marburg Germany, and the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main in Germany. He received his doctorate in law in 1956.
While studying in Frankfurt, Kluge befriended the philosopher Theodor Adorno, who was teaching at the Institute for Social Research
The Institute for Social Research is a research organization for sociology and continental philosophy, best known as the institutional home of the Frankfurt School and critical theory....
, or Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...
. 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
Friedrich Christian Anton "Fritz" Lang was an Austrian-American filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional film producer and actor. One of the best known émigrés from Germany's school of Expressionism, he was dubbed the "Master of Darkness" by the British Film Institute...
, for whom Kluge worked as an assistant on the making of The Tiger of Eschnapur
Kluge directed his first film in 1960, Brutalität im Stein
(Brutality in Stone
), a twelve-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
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...
past. The film premièred in 1961 at what would become the showcase for the new generation of German filmmakers, the Westdeutsche Kurzfilmtage (now known as the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen
The International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, founded in 1954, is one of the oldest short film festivals in the world and one of the major international platforms for the short form...
) in Oberhausen
Oberhausen is a city on the river Emscher in the Ruhr Area, Germany, located between Duisburg and Essen . The city hosts the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and its Gasometer Oberhausen is an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. It is also well known for the...
Kluge was one of twenty-six signatories to the Oberhausen Manifesto
The Oberhausen Manifesto was a declaration by a group of 26 young German filmmakers at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, North Rhine-Westphalia on February 28, 1962. The manifesto was a call to arms to establish a "new German feature film". It was initiated by Haro Senft and among...
of 1962, which marked the launch of the New German Cinema
New German cinema is a period in German cinema which lasted from the late 1960s into the 1980s. It saw the emergence of a new generation of directors...
. That same year, with filmmakers Edgar Reitz
Edgar Reitz is a German filmmaker and Professor of Film at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe.- Early life and education :...
and Detlev Schleiermacher, Kluge established the Ulm Institut für Filmgestaltung, to promote the critical and aesthetic practices of Young German Film and the New German Cinema.
In 1965 he was a member of the jury at the 15th Berlin International Film Festival
The 15th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from June 25 to July 6, 1965.-Jury:* John Gillett * Alexander Kluge* Ely Azeredo* Monique Berger* Kyushiro Kusakabe* Jerry Bresler* Karena Niehoff* Hans Jürgen Pohland...
He has gone on to direct a number of films which have an inherent critique of commercial cinema and television through the creation of a counter-public sphere
The public sphere is an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action...
and their deployment of experimental forms, including montage. They include Abschied von Gestern
Yesterday Girl is a 1966 West German film directed by Alexander Kluge. Its original German title is Abschied von gestern , which means "Parting from yesterday". It tells the story of Anita G.,played by Kluge's sister Alexandra, a young East German migrant to West Germany and her struggle to adjust...
) (1966), an adaptation of Kluge's story "Anita G."; Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos
(Artists under the Big Top: Perplexed
) (1968); and The Assault of the Present on the Rest of Time
Der Angriff der Gegenwart auf die übrige Zeit is a documentary film made in West Germany in 1985. It is written and directed by Alexander Kluge. The entire film was filmed in Frankfurt am Main, Hessen, Germany. The film's working title was Unheimlichkeit der Zeit...
- "We don't perceive a contradiction between writing books, making films or producing a television program. These days you can't choose how you want to express yourself anymore."
- —Alexander Kluge
Kluge is also one of the major German fiction writers of the late-20th century and an important social critic. His fictional works, which tend toward the short story
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...
form, are significant for their formal experimentation and insistently critical thematics. Constituting a form of analytical fiction, they utilize techniques of narrative disruption, mixed genres, interpolation of non-literary texts and documents, and perspectival shifts. The texts frequently employ a flat, ironic tone. One frequent effect approximates what Viktor Shklovsky
Viktor Borisovich Shklovsky was a Russian and Soviet critic, writer, and pamphleteer.-Life:...
and the Russian formalists
Russian formalism was an influential school of literary criticism in Russia from the 1910s to the 1930s. It includes the work of a number of highly influential Russian and Soviet scholars such as Viktor Shklovsky, Yuri Tynianov, Vladimir Propp, Boris Eichenbaum, Roman Jakobson, Grigory Vinokur who...
identified as defamiliarization
Defamiliarization or ostranenie is the artistic technique of forcing the audience to see common things in an unfamiliar or strange way, in order to enhance perception of the familiar...
. Kluge has used several of the stories as the bases for his films.
Kluge's major works of social criticism include Öffentlichkeit und Erfahrung. Zur Organisationsanalyse von bürgerlicher und proletarischer Öffentlichkeit
, co-written with Oskar Negt
Oskar Negt is a philosopher and social theorist in the tradition of critical theory. He is Professor of Sociology at the Universität Hannover....
and originally published in 1972, and "Geschichte und Eigensinn", also co-authored with Negt. "Öffentlichkeit und Erfahrung" has been translated into English as Public Sphere and Experience: Toward an Analysis of the Bourgeois and Proletarian Public Sphere
and "Geschichte und Eigensinn" is currently being translated into English and will appear in an edition published by MIT Press in the future.
"Public Sphere and Experience" revisits and expands Jürgen Habermas's notion of the public sphere (which he articulated in his book "Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere") and calls for the development of a new "proletarian public sphere" grounded in the life experience of the working class. "Geschichte und Eigensinn" continues this project and tries to rethink the very nature of proletarian experience and develops a theory of "living labour" grounded in the work of Karl Marx.
He has also published numerous texts on literary, film and television criticism.
His awards include the Italian Literature Prize Isola d'Elba (1967), and almost every major German-language literary prize, including the Heinrich von Kleist Prize
The Kleist Prize is an annual German literature prize. The prize was first awarded in 1912, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Heinrich von Kleist. The Kleist Prize was the most important literary award of the Weimar Republic, but was discontinued in 1933.In 1985 the prize...
(1985), the Heinrich-Böll-Preis
Heinrich-Böll-Preis is a literary prize of Germany....
(1993) and the Schiller Memorial Prize
The Schiller Memorial Prize is a literature prize of the State ofBaden-Württemberg. It is presently endowed with 25,000 Euros and has been awarded since 1955 on Friedrich Schiller's birthday, 10 November. The prize acknowledges outstanding work in the field of German literature or intellectual...
Kluge received the Hanns-Joachim-Friedrich Prize for TV Journalism (2001).
He has also received the Georg-Büchner-Preis
The Georg Büchner Prize is the most important literary prize of Germany. It was created in 1923 in memory of Georg Büchner and was only given to artists who came from or were closely tied to Büchner's home of Hesse...
(2003), Germany's highest literary award.
- 1966 Abschied von gestern (director and screenwriter)
- 1968 Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed (director, producer and screenwriter)
- 1973 Gelegenheitsarbeit einer Sklavin
Gelegenheitsarbeit einer Sklavin is a 1973 West German drama film directed by Alexander Kluge, usually known in English-speaking countries as Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave.-Plot:...
(director and screenwriter)
- 1976 Der Starke Ferdinand (director, narrator, producer and screenwriter)
- 1978 Germany in Autumn
Germany in Autumn is a 1978 West German omnibus film about the German Autumn. The film is composed of contributions from different filmmakers, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Edgar Reitz and Volker Schlöndorff. It was entered into the 28th Berlin International Film Festival, where it won a...
(director and screenwriter)
- 1979 Die Patriotin (director and producer)
- 1980 Der Kandidat
The Candidate is a 1980 West German documentary film directed by Volker Schlöndorff, Stefan Aust, Alexander Kluge and Alexander von Eschwege. It competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.-Appearences:* Wolf Biermann...
- 1982 Biermann-Film (director)
- 1983 Die Macht der Gefühle (director, narrator, producer and screenwriter)
- 1983 Krieg und Frieden (director and screenwriter (adapted from his book))
- 1985 Vermischte Nachrichten (director, producer and screenwriter)
- 1986 The Blind Director (director and screenwriter)
- 1989 Schweinegeld, Ein Märchen der Gebrüder Nimm (producer)
- 1995 Die Nacht der Regisseure (actor — as himself (uncredited))
- 2008 Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike - Marx/Eisenstein/Das Kapital (director and screenwriter)
- 1962 Lebensläufe (Case Histories, also published earlier in English as Attendance List for a Funeral) — this collection includes the story "Anita G.," which Kluge adapted into cinematic form as Yesterday Girl.
- 1964 Schlachtbeschreibung (The Battle)
- 1973 Lernprozesse mit tödlichem Ausgang (Learning Processes with a Deadly Outcome) — this work is one of Kluge's original contributions to the science-fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...
- 1977 Neue Geschichten: Hefte 1–18: "Unheimlichkeit der Zeit" (New Histories: Notebooks 1–18: "The Uncanniness of Time") — a collection of several hundred stories, some only one-page long, interspersed with documents, charts and images.
- 1984 Die Macht der Gefühle (The Power of Feelings)
- 2003 Die Lücke, die der Teufel läßt. (The Devil's Blind Spot) — this collection of 500 stories includes some earlier works; an abridged English-language version appeared in 2004.
- 2006 Tür an Tür mit einem anderen Leben. 350 neue Geschichten. — a collection of 350 new stories.
These two volumes together contain the central works of Kluge's and Oskar Negt's collaborative philosophy as well as Kluge's literary work. Some new material was published in each edition.
- 2000 Chronik der Gefühle (Chronicle of Feeling) — a two-volume edition (Basisgeschichten and Lebensläufe) including the works Schlachtbeschreibung, Lernprozesse mit tödlichen Ausgang, Lebensläufe and Neue Geschichten. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
- 2001 Der unterschätzte Mensch (The Undervalued Man) — a two-volume edition including Suchbegriffe (26 conversations and interviews first published in a book format), Öffentlichkeit und Erfahrung, Die Maßverhältnisse des Politischen (a completely updated and revised edition Oskar Negt's and Alexander Kluge's critique of Realpolitik
Realpolitik refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ethical premises...
), and Geschichte und Eigensinn. Frankfurt am Main: Zweitausendeins.