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Michael Brynntrup - Data Base Of Carnal Lust
by Ulrich Wegenast

Michael Brynntrup, known for his complex and non-linear narrative style, is another film-maker who revises one-dimensional models of sexuality and gender. In »Loverfilm« (1996), Brynntrup 'stars' all of his lovers (that he is able to remember).

In the late 1980s, he started to collect information on his lovers in a systematic and encyclopaedic manner. The result is a kind of filmic data base of Brynntrup's sex life, but the viewer can never be certain if it's fact or fiction. One sees hundreds of chronologically arranged photos and film clips of different men supplemented by minimal information on 'the sexual experimentee' and personal statements on the relationship. If Brynntrup has no visual material on a specific person, he uses excerpts from old gay porn films. In voice-over he announces that he didn't ask his lovers for permission to use these 'private' pictures.

This absurd, automated 'diary film' questions the very basis of personal film-making -- the very path along which Brynntrup's work has developed. By treating his own oeuvre ironically and incorporating his own private pictures into a mass-media context -- porn films -- he examines the ambivalence of sexual representation in the media. The interchange between private and public use of the pictures is one conspicuous theme of »Loverfilm«, while the legal and moral ethics of what he is doing -- which he himself questions -- is another. Maybe this movie is not considered taboo-breaking but it could be considered law-breaking.

In one of the opening sequences, Brynntrup asks the audience to leave the cinema if they don't want to invade the privacy of the persons depicted. By this, the film-maker turns the audience into accomplices in his purported moral crime. The passive act of remaining in the cinema transforms the spectator into a voyeur.

Yet what the viewer is watching is not the personal sexual drama of Michael Brynntrup -- at most it's a cut-up version of sexual fantasy/confession that falls somewhere between personal film-making and found-footage regurgitation. Beyond that, it is a scientific film on the cultural history of the gay community to which Brynntrup belongs. Irony with clear parameters.

(Love Stinks -Erotic Imagery In German/Austrian Experimental Cinema- in: "Fleshpot" -Cinema's Sexual Myth Makers & Taboo Breakers-, Manchester, Fall 2000 - Ulrich Wegenast)


TV - Interview | TV - interview
Tim Lienhard, Interview Auszug zum »LOVERFILM« am 07.02.97,
WDR 3 'KULTURSCENE', TV-Sendung vom 16.02.97