The German director, Rudolf Thome (Wallau, 1939), will visit the Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival where he will present his film, Description of an Island (1979), for the first time in Spain at the opening ceremony on 10th February at 8pm in the in the Chamber Hall of the Navarra Auditorium and Conference Centre, Baluarte. The film will be part of the special programme that the Festival is devoting to ISLANDS, in which 17 films can be seen on a journey that goes from Jean Epstein (Mor´Vran, 1930) and Robert Flaherty (Man of Aran, 1934) to contemporary proposals, such as the latest films by Jan Ijäs (Two Islands, 2013) and the couple made up of Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan (Episode of the Sea, 2014).
Son of a bookseller, this German director, screenwritter and producer falls into a current of German filmmakers influenced by Jean-Luc Godard and American tradition known as New Munich Group (Neue Münchner Gruppe), along with other filmmakers like Max Zihlmann, Klaus Lemke or Eckhart Schmidt. In 1960, he registered to study German and History. In 1962, he started working as a film critic for publications, such as Süddeutsche Zeitung. Between 1964 and 1968, he began his career as a filmmaker, shooting short fictional films before making Detektive, Rote Sonne, Supergirl, a free adaptation of DC Comics, and Fremde Stadt. In 1973, he move to Western Berlin with his wife at that time, the producer, Karin Thome, and combined his work as a director with that of a film critic for publications such as Tagesspiegel and Hobo, and also in Berlinale. He later made two autobiographical films: Made in Germany and USA and Tagebuch. In 1977 he founded his own production company, Moana-film. And in 1993 its own distributor, Prometheus. Between 1977 and 1979, he directed Beschreibung einer Insel (Description of an Island) on the Hebrides Islands. His films in the 1980’s tackled more traditional fictional questions: Berlin Chamissoplatz, System ohne schatten and Tarot. At the end of the decade, he won the International Critics Award at the Montreal Film Festival for Der Philosoph. With the turn of the century, he maintained his frenetic pace behind the camera and made a dozen films.
Description of an Island, directed by Rudolf Thome along with Cynthia Beatt, is a cult film, which Rudolf Thome himself explains “the closest to Spain that has been screened is on the Azores”. This film with a marked ethnographic nature, which was filmed without a pre-established plan and with a script that crosses the lines of documentary and fiction, tells the story of a group of five Germans who arrive on a remote island in the South Pacific called Parapara and belonging to Vanuatu. Their aim is to prepare a publication on the lives of the inhabitants of this remote island. The tasks were personally assigned: one would study the language, another would study the fauna; another the traditions, institutions and family systems; another the plants and another the songs and stories. However, the blind trust in the western scientific objective clashes head-on with the values and customs of the natives. Therefore, from the very beginning, the head of the tribe does not cease to ask and express his surprise regarding some foreigners “who have not come to rob his land”. On the other hand, as the film progresses, the head of the expedition is clear about one sentence: “the more time we spend on the island, the less we know it”.