From Pynchon to Art Girls: The Films of Robert Bramkamp

     |    Thursday April 10th, 2014

Long before Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s “Inherent Vice“, an intrepid director from Hamburg undertook the challenge of bringing the reclusive novelist to the screen. Robert Bramkamp’s sci-fi essay film PRÜFSTAND 7 (Test Stand 7) is based in part on Pynchon’s 1973 V2 rocket thriller cum sprawling socio-historical tableau “Gravity’ Rainbow”, which TIME Magazine named as one the 100 all-time greatest novels published between 1923 and 2005. Bramkamp then was the only filmmaker Pynchon had ever granted cinematic adaptation rights to. PRÜFSTAND 7 is a prime example of Bramkamp’s unique approach to filmmaking, which blurs fact and fiction and fuses social theory, science, experimental and expanded cinema as well as elements of genre films. The film also features two well-known German actors, Peter Lohmeyer and Inga Busch who are part of Bramkamp’s reparatory company. Busch and Lohmeyer also star in Bramkamp’s latest, Art Girls, which will premiere on Saturday, April 12, 8 p.m. at the achtung berlin film festival. Art Girls is a sci fi film set in Berlin’s ultra-hip art scene. Inga Busch plays the likeable, talented but luckless artist Nikita Neufeld whose career (and love life) change for the better when she meets the mysterious twin brothers, Laurens and Peter Maturana (both played by Peter Lohmeyer) who provide ample funds to realize an exciting and innovative art project. But what motives lurk behind the twins’ generous support? The film boasts eye-popping special effects that belie the film’s budget and features works from such renowned artists as Paul McCarthy, Jonathan Meese, Martin Kippenberger, Joseph Beuys as well as animated elements of “collective narration” that will be further explored when Art Girls goes crossmedia later this year. The video artwork attributed to Nikita Neufeld is actually by the film’s co-producer, Susanne Weirich. Seven films by Robert Bramkamp are available exclusively on realeyz.tv. They include PRÜFSTAND 7 , his feature debut GELBE SORTE (Yellow Species), DIE EROBERUNG DER MITTE (Conquest of the Centre), DER BOOTGOTT VOM SEESPORTCLUB (The Boat God of the Lakeside Sports Club) and short films BECKERBILLET, DER HIMMEL DER HELDEN (a prologue of sorts to PRÜFSTAND 7) and DER MANN AM FENSTER (The Man at the Window).