East Berlin, early summer 1989, a few months before the fall of the Wall. 18-year-old Suzie is thrown headfirst into the vibrant fashion scene in socialist East Germany when a photo of her ends up on the cover of Sibylle, the Vogue of the East.





The White Horse Inn

Ottilie Giesecke, a young woman from the big city whose emotional life is in permanent turmoil, lets her father persuade her to accompany him to the fairy-tale Alpine resort of Lake Wolfgang, so they can (illegally) scatter her mother's ashes there.

Freshly Squeezed

Andrea is a confirmed single, she does not have any children, and that's probably just as well. Even the witch from Hansel & Gretel would probably be a better mother than her.


France, 1563. Protestants and Catholics are fighting for land and power, invoking their religion as justification.

An Akward Customer - The Writer Günter Grass

The documentary “An Awkward Customer - The Writer Günter Grass” accompanies the Nobel Prize-winner of 2005 until the presentation of his controversial novel “Peeling the Onion” in October 2006.

Beyond the Balance

Neo-existential-mystery-pop in the „Spreewald“. A poetic road movie about the absurd mechanic of fate, the metaphysical power of a landscape and a strange state of a soul: far away from being balanced.

Call of the Toad

“Call of the Toad“ is a serene, melancholy love story between a German man and a Polish woman, a tale which portrays the advent of modern capitalism in Poland with biting satire. The film is based on the outstanding novel of the same name by Günter Grass, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

NR. 23

A rainy night, a car breaks down, an old house in the middle of nowhere with a light burning in the window. Soaking wet, Markus knocks on the door - and interrupts Renee in the middle of her pottery.


Often cited for his quaint, ironic, humorous, close-to-the-skin story-telling talents - "the Woody Allen of the American Independents," said one critic - Amos Kollek is an actor-writer-screenwriter-director all rolled into one. He knows Manhattan like the back of his hand. His films are filled with a bevy of familiar Village characters: bar-hoppers and park-benchers, retirees and wanabees, the lonely and the beautiful. In ANGELA, his first Erotic Tale, Amos Kollek told a delightfully funny fairy tale about an ordinary guy aching for one last fling at the tender age of 70. In MUSIC he extends the metaphor to embrace a city that never sleeps - as though Manhattan at night is the very essence of the elusive, vulnerable woman. Spiced with surreal, Kafkaesque twists, MUSIC is about a man who loves music and is fascinated by the fair sex. But he is not quite sure why and how he has ended up in this strange hotel room ...


After winning top awards in Montreux, Utrecht, and St. Petersburg for THE WAITING ROOM, followed by the Grand Prix at the Mediawave festival in Györ (Hungary) for THE GAS STATION, Jos Stelling completed his Erotic Tales trilogy with THE GALLERY. Stylistically they're all connected: each is narrated visually without dialogue, each makes merry fun of an embarrassing erotic fantasy in a public place, and each features the same likeable fall-guy - Belgian actor Gene Bervoets - as the hero always ready and willing to strut his manhood like a peacock in heat. In THE GALLERY Gene finds himself the sensual object of a beautiful woman's desire. So when, suddenly and unexpectedly, she begins to strip for his pleasure ... well, one good turn deserves another ...

EROTIC TALES - porn.com

Veteran film director Matty Bonkers (Bob Rafelson), a Hollywood legend, arrives in Berlin for an honorary retrospective tribute. While introducing his film MOCKERY, he receives a phone call from his producer lying in intensive care at a hospital. Blau (Trevor Griffiths) needs a favor for old times' sake. Could Matty finish a porn movie before his legs get broken by Tokyo Tony?Matty reluctantly agrees. On the set he meets movie star and ex-cello-player Inga (Fabienne Babe) - and the experience is bizarre spirited uplifting a comédie humaine. The sequel to Rafelson's Wet, a classic in the Erotic Tales series, PORN.com features Bob in his first major acting role.

Paule and Julia

Paule (15) lives an exciting life around Friedrichstraße and Alexanderplatz in Berlin, where, together with his Bosnian friend Arnel, he steals from department stores and robs people on the street.


Ernest Hemingway wrote his Parisian stories on the table of a sidwalk café. Niko prefers to pen his Berlin tales on the counter of a funky bar behind the shark tank. What better place for a writer to pick up a girl? Along comes Sonja, who wants to know how the horny tale he’s now working on will end. So she invites Niko to finish his erotic tale over a drink at her apartment! There’s only one catch: Martin, her ex-husband, still hasn’t moved out of the place. So what, says Sonja - we’ll just change the ending of the story … to a ménage a trois. AN EROTIC TALE by Georgian director Dito Tsintsadze (LOST KILLERS, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2000).


The Californian desert, somewhere between Death Valley and Los Angeles. She - pert, forward, a ball of fire - has just thrown her mobile away after an angry tete-a-tete with her (ex-)boyfriend.

Nancy and Frank

NANCY AND FRANK is an international production for cinema release, this is the New York love story from which arises a bitterly fought conflict...

In Search of an Impotant Man

Gaby Hauptmann’s bestseller has been adapted to the movie screen.


Background Gilles Jacob takes justified pride in the Cannes mandate to discover talent and to promote the careers of proven auteur filmmakers. Tops on his list is Denmark’s Lars von Trier, whose Dancer in the Dark was awarded the Golden Palm last May. Another was the late Krzysztof Kieslowski of Poland, a welcomed guest at Cannes for over a decade. Not to mention those heralded pacesetters among the American Independents: Jim Jarmusch … the Coen Brothers … Hal Hartley. Hal Hartley was a natural to approach for a personal, signatured Erotic Tale. A true “independent” filmmaker, he is credited (sometimes under pseudonyms) as writer, director, producer, composer, editor, occasional actor, and you-name-it in the making of his films from conception to release. Moreover, as he once confessed, he liked what he saw in the first ET series - films by directors from different lands and cultures and traditions free to explore dreams and fantasies and libidos to say something vital and virile and vivacious about the human experience. So when Ziegler-Film approached him to join the series, the director of Simple Men (Cannes, 1992), Amateur (1994), Flirt (1995), and Henry Fool (Cannes 1998) responded with a script for an Erotic Tale that blurs the borders of genres and toys with the imagination. Indeed, Kimono stands alone among all the Erotic Tales as a cross-cultural viewing experience. On the surface are narrative ploys reminiscent of the French Avant-Garde and image fraction advanced by New American Cinema. Below the surface are references to the Japanese ghost story, to Freudian metaphors, to dream interpretations. The icing on the cake is a string of poetic Haikus. In short, Kimono has something for every cineaste - as invitations to prestige festivals in Venice, Toronto and Rotterdam amply confirm. Synopsis A hot summer day on a country road. A young woman in her bridal dress gets kicked out of a car. Lost and frustrated, she wanders off across a sea of grass into a dark wood – and discovers an abandoned house. Tired and worn out, she lies down on a bed. When she is awakened from her nap by a clap of thunder, she sees a cup of steaming hot tea and a package on the floor. She opens it – and finds a kimono. The bride knows she no longer is alone ... but should she put on the kimono?

The Night Nurse

Background When the Erotic Tales were launched seven years ago on a Sunday afternoon at the Cannes festival, Susan Seidelman’s The Dutch Master and Bob Rafelson’s Wet were given top billing at the Grand Théâtre Lumière - and veteran name directors were immediately associated with the series. Over the years, however, the “club” has expanded to include filmmakers from various cultures, women directors with feminist viewpoints, exponents of the gay and lesbian movement, and auteurs who frankly wanted to propagate their own personal points of view on just what is, or may be, the erotic and the amorous, the carnal and the concupiscent, given today’s needs or in a certain context. It was only a matter of time before Tanja Ziegler raised the question: why don’t we ask young directors, graduates of the film academies, what they feel may be still missing in the series, what the young audience has to say about related issues of contemporary morality, what kind of tales might test the ethical and aesthetical boundaries even further. She suggested talking to Bernd Heiber at the HFF Potsdam-Babelsberg - and the result was The Night Nurse. Despite just four student films in his portfolio, Bernd Heiber had already made a name for himself as an author and stage director. Further, he could boast of a promising record at key international festivals. His short feature Scheissleben (Shit-Life) (1996), a black comedy set in Berlin’s demimonde, was seen at Saarbrücken. And his diploma film, Klopfen (Knocking) (1998), a psycho-thriller with touches of Edgar Allan Poe delirium, was invited to Cottbus. Paul Fassnach, who played the ex-con driven batty by a strange knocking in his apartment, is back in Heiber’s Erotic Tale as the flustered policeman with a toothache - until he meets the night nurse. Synopsis Brandenburg, near the Polish border; it all started with a toothache. Then the boss called to say he was needed. Extra Duty - to guard a gangster for the night in an emergency ward. Konzak was sorry he ever became a cop. Besides, the prisoner was a moody boxer-type, and the room at the hospital was like in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Sweat was already dripping down his back when the night nurse stopped by on her rounds. A sway of the hips.. the look in her eye...she was a real knockout. Konzak forgot the toothache and the prisoner...

On Top Down Under

Background Only one of the first twelve Erotic Tales was made without a word of dialogue: Jos Stelling’s The Waiting Room. In contrast to three in the second dozen: Stelling’s The Gas Station, Hal Hartley’s Kimono, and Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s On Top Down Under. Fridriksson’s Erotic Tale is all the more singular because it’s set on different continents - indeed, on opposite corners of the world - yet linked by real time and parallel occurrences that almost impinge on each other. Thus, words would only disturb. Quite simply, the story has to be told by challenging the viewer to accept the logic of coincidence and suspending for a moment the natural laws of the universe. This is not the first time the Icelandic writer-director-producer has imbued his theme with the spiritual, the metaphysical, the clairvoyant, the mystical. In Children of Nature (1991), nominated for both an Oscar and a Felix, two senior citizens escape from an Old Peoples Home to set off on a journey to commune with the natural forces of nature. In Cold Fever (1994) a Japanese businessman travels through an Icelandic winter landscape to perform a symbolic burial ritual for his parents. And in Angels of the Universe (1999) a young schizophrenic is committed to an asylum, where hearing voices and mental telepathy are the rule rather than the exception. “On Top” is, of course, Iceland - in contrast to “Down Under” Australia. As the evening shadows fall over an isolated lighthouse, a young girl recalls the joys of a past summer with her lover at a geyser. As the day wears on in the blazing desert, the young man of her dreams transports blocks of ice to a lonely shack out in the bush. Somehow, their fates are shared - much as in the last sonnet penned by the young John Keats. Synopsis ON TOP - Iceland, a lighthouse, a cold winter evening. Her thoughts drift back to that summer ... to bathing in the hot springs ... to when they first met ... and embraced. DOWN UNDER - Australia, the desert, a blistering heat wave. His pickup stops at an icehouse ... he lays the blocks neatly on the buckboard ... and drives off haunted by a aching memory. Without dialogue or comment, save for verses from a sonnet by John Keats, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson links the thoughts, the emotions, the sensual longing of young lovers at opposite ends of the world. A tone poem, a collage of sight and sound.

The Gas Station

Background Attending some international film festivals can be a painless chore for Dutch director Jos Stelling. When he goes to the Riga Arsenals festival (he’s been there twice), he is greeted on the street by fans and admirers - after all, he had been honored with a retrospective tribute there as far back as 1988. The same goes for St. Petersburg: back in 1997, when his Waiting Room (1995) was awarded both the Golden Gryphon Award and the Public’s Prize, that double-decker recognition had come close on the heels of the Golden Calf at Utrecht and the Prix de Presse at Montreux. Indeed, the world-wide honors showered on The Waiting Room prompted Regina Ziegler to offer Jos Stelling carte blanche for a second Erotic Tale - with an option to go for broke and round the series out to a feature-length trilogy. Two factors are worth considering when debating the pros and cons of a Jos Stelling Erotic Tale. Primary and foremost, he doesn’t lean on a word of specious dialogue to tell his story. That waiting room at a railway station, for instance, attracts per se a plethora of oddballs, eccentrics, bumpkins, and other bizarre types familiar to the human species, to say nothing of the games of one-upman-ship that enliven and animate this groundling arena. Add to this the presence of Belgian mime actor Eugène Bervoets, and you have the archetype of the bravura peacock macho who will scale a wall or walk off a cliff if necessary to demonstrate his manly wiles with the opposite sex. Watch ten Damme and Bervoets in action in The Gas Station - and you get the point. What better place to continue a flirt than that friendly oasis offering relief - and promise - after a fatiguing traffic-jam on the expressway? Synopsis An acknowledged master of the short sans dialogue, Jos Stelling won a bundle of awards for THE WAITING ROOM at festivals in Holland, Russia, and Switzerland. And if you thought that richly inventive spoof of the leering macho in God’s Little Acre, the crowded waiting room of your local railway station, was one of the luniest Erotic Tales ever made, then buckle your seat belt for a ride down Life‘s Great Battlefield: the expressway during rush hour! Take the boredom of the slow lane, add the spice of one-upmanship, top it off with a delightful girl-boy butting match, and what’s missing? A layover at the next gas station.



The Summer Of My Deflowering

Background Does the female have a different feeling for the erotic than the male? Question the wise men on university faculties, and you’ll get a myriad of answers. But turn the query around and ask if women directors make more erotic films than their male counterparts, then the Erotic Tales are a sure measurement. Two films in the first dozen were made by women: Susan Seidelman’s The Dutch Master (USA) and Cinzia Th. Torrini’s Sweeties (Italy) - although the initial goal at Ziegler-Film was to look for parity. All the same, this duo fared well on the international circuit: The Dutch Master was invited to participate at Cannes and received an Academy Award Nomination, while Sweeties was honored with the Golden Rockies Award at the Banff TV festival. Look closely at those films - both focusing on the sexual needs of women - and arguments can be made for the aesthetics of feminist cinema. Now comes Susan Streitfeld’s The Summer of My Deflowering in the second cycle of Erotic Tales. The director of Female Perversions (1996), one of the most controversial feminist films ever made, Streitfeld is familiar with all the issues at hand. “It was difficult to find an actress to play the lead role of the calculating- woman careerist,” she admits in an interview. “Until Tilda Swinton came along - and resolved the issue with a magnificent performance.” In The Summer of My Deflowering the focus is on a young woman who believes that her video-diary, begun as a child, should close on note of absolute finality - the loss of her virginity. Once she has cruised the Internet for the likely beau, it’s off to the Garden of Eden motel in the Hollywood Hills to consummate the affair before a running camera … Synopsis Los Angeles, 2000. Megan David likes to keep track of her life with a camrecorder. It’s her video-diary, her art project for the Biennale. It depicts who she is, where she’s going, how she’s going “to pop her cherry“ – as she informs her girlfriend. And hip video artist that she is, Megan has even picked out the right partner through the Internet - a theology major named Luke - for the summer of her deflowering at the Garden of Eden. But when the love-birds arrive on the motel, the concierge hands them the key to their room on a condition - they are not to eat the apple ...


Background New Czech Cinema is flourishing. Following the Velvet Revolution of late 1989 in Prague - the equivalent of the Fall of the Wall in Berlin - a group of talented young filmmakers spurred a Czech film revival that has yet to peak. By general consensus, the films that confirm the diversity of this Czech New Wave are Jan Sverak's Kolya (1997 Oscar winner), Petr Zelenka's Buttoners (1999 Rotterdam Tiger Award), Sasha Gedeon's Return of the Idiot (1999 Venice entry), and Jan Hrebejk’s Cozy Dens (1999 box office hit). Generally speaking, these directors are successful because their films deal thematically with problems facing the younger generation or with past events placed in proper historical perspective. The index of national recognition and commercial success is the “Golden Kingfisher,” awarded each April at the Pilsen festival. Petr Zelenka, a graduate of the scriptwriting department at the Prague Film School (FAMU), won it in 1997 for Mnaga - Happy End and in 1998 for Buttoners - in both instances it was Zelenka’s flair as a sharp, witty, sophisticated writer-director that won him accolades of praise. Mnaga - Happy End amuses by catching the uninformed audience unawares: is this an authentic fiction documentary about a popular rock band with a new sound, or has everything been faked with a run of subtly improvised interviews? Likewise, Buttoners blends the absurd with the tragic in a set of six intertwined short stories locked in a time warp. When approached to direct an Erotic Tale, Petr’s response was typical Zelenka: “Okay with me - but since you’ve got enough erotic ones, let’s do something philosophic erotic …” The result was Powers - a neatly constructed, highly polished Erotic Tale about a magician at a nightclub who is suddenly endowed with “powers” he can’t control at the dawn of the new millennium. Synopsis Peter has a dream job. He’s a popular magician in a posh Prague nightclub, whose act draws more applause than the strippers. He’s got an eye-catching assistant who is ready and willing to cuddle his frayed nerves whenever necessary. But he’s also got Sylvia on his neck: a pert, scatterbrained sister who forgets that a toss in the hay may just be worth a wedding ring. Things take a turn for the better – or worse? – when he discovers he possesses extra - let’s say, supernatural – powers that enable him to see into the future, hear music by rubbing his finger over a CD, and God knows what. The problem? Peter can’t control anything any more like he used to – neither his magic act, nor his love life, nor his sister’s latest erotic fantasy.

Why don't we do it in the road?

Zarah, a postmodern creative artist, likes doing it with Anton in the most quaint and daring of public places - right where and when the traffic is the heaviest. This time to heighten the fun,  Zarah hits upon a special object of desire.

The New Face of Modesty

Synopsis After LITTLE ADDENDUM now follows a new 2 minute polit-satire by Gunther Scholz. The new Berlin Chancellor Schröder thanks Kohl for the financial inheritance. Meanwhile the construction for the new chancery continues - a cardboard sign points towards the new building.

Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please?

Background Rosa did one of those photogenic double-takes when he was told by Ziegler-Film that his Bratwurst had been booked by no less 80 international festivals and other film events over the past 18 months - an average of nearly once a week. “Don’t be surprised if we reach 100 by the end of the year,” mused Regina Ziegler. “Maybe we should register the film in the Guinness Book of Records!” That cordial, lasting, mutually esteemed relationship between producer Regina Ziegler and writer-director Rosa von Praunheim goes back three decades - to when Regina assisted Rosa (alias Holger Mischwitzki) on one of the comic cult classics of the New German Cinema movement: Die Bettwurst (1970). Starring Rosa’s fabulous “Aunt Luci” Kryn and the inimitable Dietmar Kracht, the film proved so popular that it prompted an immediate sequel, Berliner Bettwurst (1973), and might have hatched a series had not Dietmar tried to swim Lake Havel one luminous evening. No matter - Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? bears all the earmarks of a consummated trilogy: a kinky, ribald, diverting, hilarious Erotic Tale. And not a moment too soon, for it was the last screen appearance of the nonagenarian Luci Kryn. Shot at the fabled Highland Gardens in Hollywood, and starring gay porn star Jeff Stryker in his first full-fledged acting role, Bratwurst confirms Praunheim as a gifted storyteller with a light hand for comic twists, a flair for amusing character portrayals, and a pronounced talent for situational theatrics that walk the fine line between the absolutely absurd and the positively preposterous. As one observant critic remarked, “there’s never been a Christmas dinner quite like this one before!” Synopsis This sweet little cannibal comedy stars the legendary porno star Jeff Stryker in his first legitimate role. Jeff plays a stranger from the Midwest who arrives in Hollywood, rents a motel room, and becomes the major fantasy of the owner, his mother and all the other guests. Young and old, male and female, black and white: everybody finds him delectable. In the end, they invite him for a Christmas dinner.....

Georgian Grapes

Background An acclaimed actor-director in a prominent Georgian film dynasty, Georgi Shengelaya is the second son of renown filmmaker Nikolai Shengelaya, whose Eliso (1928) and Twenty-Six Commissars (1933) rank with the best silent films made in the former Soviet Union, and legendary stage-and-screen actress Nato Vachnadze. His older brother, director Eldar Shengelaya, heads the Association of Georgian Filmmakers and is presently serving in parliament. While a student at the Moscow Film School (VGIK) under Alexander Dovzhenko, Georgi Shengelaya made Alaverdoba (1962/67), a short feature about a pilgrimage to attend a traditional Georgian “Thanksgiving Day” at an ancient church. Folkloric and religious in tone, Alaverdoba embodied the national spirit - and was promptly banned for five years. Returning to Tbilisi to work at the Grusiafilm Studios, Georgi Shengelaya again challenged the Soviet censors with what amounted to a small-scale national epic: Pirosmani (1969/72). A fictional, humanistic portrait of Niko Pirosmanishvili, it tells the story of a legendary primitive painter who died of starvation in 1918 and left behind few details of his life - like Vincent van Gogh, he was to achieve fame and recognition only after his death. Due to its religious implications (besides being is a thinly disguised Passion Play), Pirosmani was shelved by the authorities for three years. As for Georgian Grapes, it follows in the director’s line of popular folkloric tales - Melodies from an Old Quarter (1973), Come to the Valley of the Grapes (1976), A Young Composer’s Odyssey (1984) - that reflect the daily life, the give-and-take humor, the easy-going bucolic existence of his people. Contrast the urban with the rural, add tongue-in-cheek dialogue, spice it with a rhythmic musical motif and an autumnal pastoral setting - and you have an enchanting Georgian fairy tale. Synopsis The days pass slowly for Lia amid the vineyards of a rural Georgian village. Still in the prime of life, her beauty is overlooked even by her husband Sandro, who runs the local car repair shop. Things change when Megi, the comely star of a film being shot nearby, happens upon the scene to get her car repaired. Lia knows a rival when she sees one - although she's also aware she doesn't stand a chance against a mini-skirt. Megi, however, has a few tricks up her sleeve too - she knows what a Cinderella needs to rid herself of the pumpkin.

Dream a Little Dream

As his wedding day approaches, the architect Yannis keeps having a recurring dream that leaves him shaken when he wakes up.

The Red Garter

Background “If it’s not erotic, it’s not interesting,” said Spanish playwright Fernando Arrabal. But he never bothered to say just what he personally thought was, or was not, erotic. Neither did Luis Buñuel, one of the great masters of erotic cinema. And you would have to write an essay with multiple references to explain just what that the “Lubitsch touch” meant in the heyday of the Hollywood studio system. Still, no one will deny that there are borders between erotic and erotique - between accepted moral standards and the porno industry. And these borders shrink or expand according to movie production codes and regulations at TV stations. If a dossier were to be prepared on “The Erotic Tales at 250 Film Festivals” around the world, it would have to reflect on the whys and wherefores of those riots in India, that record-breaking attendance in Italy, and those repeated bookings of the entire series in Russia and the Ukraine. But it would also have to measure the borders of propriety in television broadcasting. A case in point is Markus Fischer’s The Red Garter, an Erotic Tale adapted from a short story by Spanish writer Juan Marsé. A prominent Swiss television director, Markus Fischer is best known for his Tatort (Scene of the Crime) series, several of which he has written himself and composed the original score for. But he has also produced and directed documentaries, has edited his own films on occasion, and is well known as a TV guest on talkshows. His approach to the erotic in The Red Garter challenges the viewer to change perspective as the story unfolds. In this psycho-thriller story - unfolding deftly as a dream-sequence or nightmare - the double-rape is experienced in reverse: first as the victim, then as the raped rapist. Synopsis Is it a love story? A tale of passion and betrayal? A game of illicit desires and longings? Or is it a tingling drama of raw emotions? Or how about a thriller to test the boundaries of the genre? Maybe even an erotic thriller to challenge the codes of screen propriety? Let’s just say that Markus Fischer’s THE RED GARTER, based on a short story by Juan Marsé, is all of these. The setting of this Swiss Erotic Tale is a single’s apartment. An attractive young woman is accosted in the corridor by a young man with something rather sinister on his mind. A contest of give-and-take follows - one good turn deserves another …

No Trains no Planes

NO TRAINS NO PLANES is a film about looking for contact and communication, love and intimacy. And about the way people wriggle mainly to escape after all from what they were looking for.

Solo for Clarinet

Berlin. In an desolate tenement block the police discovers the gruesomely severed body of a man. Apparently a piece of his genitals has been bitten off. Head Detective Bernie Kominka's investigations lead him to a young woman in a red coat, and from there straight into the turbulent labyrinth of his feelings. He falls in love with his main suspect and loses control of his senses, not knowing whether or not the woman he is attracted to is a brutal murderer...

Little Addendum

Synopsis A two minute political fantasy, Gunther Scholz's LITTLE ADDENDUM was greeted by amused shock and howls of laughter when it premiered at the 1998 Berlinale in the short film competition. The "report" refers to a bid to host the 2004 Olympic Games in Leipzig. The setting is the GDR Politburo where the voice of Erich Honecker is heard. "Our bid, of course, assumes that the German Democratic Republic will still be around in the year 2004." The LITTLE ADDENDUM to Honnecker's speech was made just days before the fall of the Berlin wall.


Background Last July, when Mika Kaurismäki was honored with a retrospective tribute at Karlovy Vary, Ziegler Film approached him about making an Erotic Tale. “Can I shoot it in Rio?” was the only question. It’s where Mika hangs out when not in Helsinki - and Marcel Camus’s ORFEU NEGRO (Golden Palm, Cannes 1959) just happens to be one of his favorite films. A few weeks later, while competing at the Moscow film festival with the thriller Condition Red (starring that talented rocksinger-actress Cynda Williams, the female lead in Bob Rafelson’s Wet), Mika presented an exposé of his own erotic version of the Orpheus legend: SAMBOLICO, set in Brazil’s wild, sexy, head-spinning Samba season. Kari Väänänen - you saw him as the penniless composer Schaunard in Aki Kaurismäki’s La Vie de Bohème (1991) - plays a famous Finnish conductor who ventures onto the Copacabana beach one afternoon after a successful concert premiere and meets a young woman on the run from a brutal pimp. The encounter leads to a sensual journey through Rio’s ludicrous nightbars and into the rhythmic embrace of samba groups preparing for the season’s big contest. The next morning, when the conductor awakens in his hotel room, he’s not quite sure if he’s dreamed it all. As it turns out, the girl really does exist! But is the she a he? One of Europe’s celebrated cult directors, with an affinity for Godardian nihilism and American B-movies, Mika Kaurismäki had previously shot Amazon (1991), with Kari Väänänen, and Tigrero (1994), with Sam Fuller and Jim Jarmusch, in Brazil. “Rio is my backyard.” Synopsis The day after his successful concert performance in Rio de Janeiro, Eric, a Finnish conductor, spends a relaxing afternoon on the Copacabana with a refreshing drink and surrounded by a bevy of girls in bikinis. The appearance of a beautiful young girl, whom he had met in the elevator, lightens the moment - until she runs away in fear of Rudi, a tough accompanied by a pair of threatening companions. Later, Eric meets the girl again at the samba festival, where she dances seductively for his approval. When Rudi appears on the scene, they run off into the night … down dark streets and alleys … into gay nightclubs … and out onto a moonlit beach - where their act of love is interrupted once again …

The Waiting Room

Background The First Riga International Film Forum “Arsenals” got off to a fast start in 1988 by honoring Dutch filmmaker Jos Stelling with a retrospective tribute. Most cineastes were familiar with his debut feature film, Mariken Van Nieueghen, an inventive modern version of the medieval morality play that was selected for the official competition at the 1975 Cannes festival. Stelling’s next films - experimental, autobiographical, historical tales of suppressed passions, themes of deception and illusion, fantasies spiced with wit and humor - won him a cult following at international festivals. Only Britain’s Derek Jarman has dared the same range of themes from epical self-portraits to a minimalist-cinema, microcosmic view of the modern world. Each of his films is an extension of the Jos Stelling oeuvre: Elckerlyc (1975), Rembrandt Fecit 1669 (1977), The Pretenders (1981), The Illusionist (1983), The Switchman (1986), and The Flying Dutchman (1995), a film that took seven years to bring to the screen and the offical Dutch entry in the competition at Venice this year. In THE WAITING ROOM, Jos Stelling’s Erotic Tale for Regina Ziegler Filmproduktion, a young man is enchanted by a woman in an advertising poster. One day, in a railway station, his dream-goddess suddenly stands before him in flesh-and-blood. And while his wife is away in search of coffee, his sex-fantasy becomes a reality - before an astonished assembly of waiting passengers. Numbed, befuddled, exhausted, Eugène Bervoets (you saw him in The Flying Dutchman) awaits his wife’s return… Synopsis A large train station, it might be anywhere in a big city. Waiting passengers, some rae curiosly observing each other, some are too much involved with their own petty problems to pay attention to anything else. Our man, self- assured, practically undresses some of the woman present with his eyes, at least as long as his wife is absent, trying to get them some coffee. A beauty in blue returns his challenging looks, he can hardly believe it's true. Obviously, it is his lucky day today. By the time his wife returns our man has experienced some astonishing things under the watchful eyes of the fellow passengers. And most probably he will be much more reserved next time he sees a beautiful blonde.

The Elephant Never Forgets

Background Detlev Buck is a natural for an Erotic Tale. His “teaser” exercise at the Berlin Film Academy, One Reel In a Shower (1988), toyed with the fantasies of a shy young man in a public shower, whose reveries are suddenly interrupted by the unexpected visit of a plumb young lady. His comedy at the 1993 Berlinale, No More Mr. Nice Guy, described by a critic as “Vladimir and Estragon in a roadmovie,” had the audience in stitches and made a screen star out of natural-born-comedian Joachim Król. So when Regina Ziegler Filmproduktion approached Buck about making an Erotic Tale, the mischievous glint in the corner of his eye got the better of him. Detlev was just wrapping a new feature film when he sat down with Regina in an Italian restaurant to bat around a couple ideas that had been pestering his sleep. “There’s this dwarf…in a circus…with a countess…” Synopsis A travelling circus winds its way on a wintery day through the Brandenburg countryside. Ramon, the dwarf-trainer who looks after the elephant Edgar, watches apprehensively as a car overtakes the troupe - and then crashes on the slippery surface. Ramon, with the help of Edgar, rescues Countess Lilly von Teltow just in time from the burning car - for which he is invited to the family castle to collect a reward. But when Ramon brings get-well flowers to the countess, he is disturbed to find her lecherous husband chasing Irene, Lilly’s beautiful nurse, around the house - so for his reward he asks for a night with the countess …

Devilish Education

Background Denver festival director Ron Henderson had been following the Erotic Tales closely ever since he heard about the planned series at the 1993 Telluride festival. So by the time his own festival had rolled around the following October, his Moviemakers Tribute honored Regina Ziegler and Wolf Gremm, with the Erotic Tales as a festival highlight. And upon viewing a cassette of Janusz Majewski’s Devilish Education at RZF during the Berlinale last February, he booked the “Polish Tale” on the spot: “American audiences will really like it!” Once upon a time, back at the turn of the century, the milkmaid Gosia is caring for her cows on an idyllic rural countryside. The afternoon is hot, so she bathes naked in the river. The next day, a stranger-in-black appears on the scene and shows her a painting he had done of her in the nude. Embarrassed, but hardly offended, she makes his acquaintance and is soon introduced to the secret pleasures of life: love-making, the beauty of art, the music of Mozart, the delights of the dining table. The meadow becomes a natural backdrop for her lessons in life's mysteries, in contrast to the moral concerns of her mother, the puritanical ethics of the church, and the puzzling medical diagnosis of the country doctor. "Maybe it's something the devil told her," they conclude. Renata Dancewicz is now a rising star on the Polish screen after her discovery as Gosia in Devilish Education. “Gorgeous,’’ enthused an American critic at Montreal. “Is the devil real? A demonic vision?” asked a Vancouver critic. “And who cares - with actress Dancewicz?” Synopsis Once upon a time, at the turn of the century, the milkmaid Gosia is caring for her cows on an idyllic countryside. The afternoon is hot, and she takes a bath in the river. The next day a stranger-in-black appears on the scene and shows her a painting he has done of her in the nude. Embarrassed, but hardly offended, she makes his aquaintance and is introduced to the secret pleasures of life: The moral concerns of her mother, the puritanical ethics of the church and a puzzling medical diagnosis of the country doctor seems to lead to only one conclusion: It must have been something the devil told her...

Hotel Paradise

Background The Erotic Tales returned to Filmfest München a second year in a row last June when Nicholas Roeg’s Hotel Paradise was invited as the icing on the cake for the festival’s retrospective-workshop honoring one of cinema’s preeminent cameramen-directors and his actress-wife Theresa Russell (in Insignificance she’s a fetchingly intellectual Marilyn Monroe). Nic signed on for an erotic tale after Regina Ziegler had paid a personal visit to his hideaway home in Laurel Canyon during a junket to Los Angeles. “I’ll let you know when I can fit it in…and Theresa just might be interested.” Cut to the bridal suite of a luxury hotel in London, the set for Hotel Paradise. An attractive woman in her best years emerges from a dreadful hangover. To her surprise, she finds herself handcuffed to a naked man in bed next to her. Worse - this is her wedding day, and the morning is slipping away fast. Worst of all - the man is a complete stranger! The wedding guests are about to arrive within the next half-hour. The rub? This is a mafia wedding… The bride, clothed only in a peekaboo veil, scrambles for what she can find of her trousseau as her handsome bed-partner stirs to life to advise her to leave town as fast as she can. But who is this guy, and why is he packing a gun in his boots? The only clues are a Rousseau painting on the wall and the stranger's penchant for quoting Thomas Hardy's poem on the sinking of the Titanic. Theresa Russell plays a winsome gun-moll en déshabillé, and Vincent d'Onofrio a macho poet, in this witty satire of the gangster genre penned by Michael Allin. An “erotic thriller” - London Film Festival. Synopsis A beautiful woman wakes up with a hangover in the bridal suite of a luxury hotel. And finds herself handcuffed to a naked man. Remembering this is her wedding day, it is a shock to discover the man next to her is a complete stranger! And the wedding guests are on their way...Who is this guy, with a gun in his boots? What does he want from her and how can she make sure to be ready for her future husband in time? The bride - no wonder - is panicking. But at the same time feels strangely attracted to this unknown, very naked man.


Anna is not so very young any more, but still a voluptuous woman and full of desire. Unlike her husband, who prefers to watch television instead of making love to his wife.

Touch Me

Background Paul Cox was serving as the jury president for the “Arts and Cinema” competition at the 1993 Istanbul International Film Festival when Ziegler Film approached him about making an Erotic Tale. “Would around Christmas be okay? I’ve got a few weeks free between projects. But what’s an erotic tale?” A stopover visit to Berlin resolved the issue: he spent a weekend “surfing” the private channels looking for something that vaguely resembled an erotic film. “Maybe it’s time to make a sweet, tender movie about two girls spending a wonderful weekend together at a farm in the country…” Cox’s Illumination Films survives on the principle that the best way to compete against Hollywood is to form your own company and “make low-budget films against the grain.” Man Of Flowers (1983) and My First Wife (1984) dealt with sex, fantasy, and the outsider as few independent filmmakers would dare, “because they’re honest films about myself, about my own emotions, but I guess they say something to other people as well.” For the teasing opening scene in Touch Me, Paul Cox assembled all his friends to paint a “Naked Maya” in an art-studio. Then his “Maya” went off to spend a tender weekend in the country with the art teacher…to commune with nature…over wine and Mozart. Touch Me was desired by a gay and lesbian festival. “This is as close to soft-porno as you can get and still be watching an erotic tale,” voiced a critic. “Claudia Karvan is beautiful,” said another. So is Gosia Dobrowolska, an art teacher any normal male would like to spend a weekend with in the country. Synopsis Two woman, the elder in her early forties. the younger in her twenties. They are good friends. The older woman. Sarah, is an artist, a painter, who has first and foremost found solace and sexual fulfillment in her work. The young woman, Christine who often models for Sarah's art classes. is heartbroken about her lover: the man does not understand her. We watch the close rapport between the two women as Christine patiently poses for Sarah's rather whacky group of students. After classes, Christine talks about her relationship with Roderick. " I used to really like him. Sometimes I still do". He's even jealous of her posing for art classes. Says she doesn't have the body. We see Christine at home with her boyfriend. It is hardly a scene of passion and love. Their lovemaking is routine... As complete contrast, we see Sarah's illicit rendevous with her married lover, Stewart. Abandoned and carefree passion. Sarah persuades Christine to join her for a weekend in her country house in the hills outside Melbourne. For the first time, Christine smiles. She discovers a trampoline in the middle of a meadow filled with yellow flowers. She chases wild horses through the fields and the two of them scream with delight as they rush back to the house In the evening, they relax in front of the fire. Sarah gently massages Christine. Their weekend is over, Christine returns to the city totally self-contained in her newly found sensuality and freedom.

The Cloud Door

Background The International Film Festival of India, held in January 1995 in Bombay (India’s “Bollywood”), was in an uproar. For the first time, despite a treasury of native erotic art and literature, an Indian erotic film had been made by Mani Kaul, the aesthete among Indian filmmakers, and could be seen at the festival. Only one screening was allowed for the Erotic Tales program - Wet, The Dutch Master, and The Cloud Door - and, sure enough, the police had to be called out to prevent a riot at the doors of the Sterling cinema. IFFI director Malti Sahai resolved the dilemma by scheduling an extra press screening for The Cloud Door at the Little Theatre in the Tata Institute on Nariman Point. After the press screening, Indian Television interviewed co-producer Lalitha Krishna and actress Anu Arya Aggarwal, who had placed her career on the line by exposing a breast in the production. A taboo had been broken. Or had it? Two year later, the Indian distributor of the Erotic Tales was still trying to clear the films at the government censor board. Mani Kaul drew upon three literary sources for The Cloud Door: Bhasa’s Sanskrit play Avimaraka (5th-7th century), Mohammed Jayasi’s Sufi epic love poem Padmavat (13th century), and the anonymous writer of the Erotic Indian Tales Suksapiti. Indians know well the story of the parrot Hermani leading Ratnasan to the bed-chamber of the Princess Kurangi, but they have yet to see it on the local screen. Locarno wrestled München for the right of “first festival night” (München won), and both the New York Film Festival and the Robert Flaherty Seminar selected The Cloud Door for presentation - such invitations are high praise for any director. Synopsis In an ancient castle in Rajasthan the King overhears the parrot in its cage whispering erotic descriptions to his young daughter Princess Kurangi. Enraged, he pulls out a knife and attacks the cage. Kurangi defends the bird by arguing that its speech is all learnt. Young women descend into the waters of a pool. Kurangi clutches the green parrot with its long tail against her bosom. Her clothes fall on the steps as she enters the waters with the parrot. The bird suddenly spreads its wings and flies off travelling over the mountain top to a far place. The parrot has been captured by a bird catcher. When Ratnasen passes by its cage, he is startled to hear the parrot speak his love's name: "Kurangi" If Ratnasen would free the parrot from his sleepy master, it would be willing to show him the way to the palace and lead him through the secret passages to Kurangi's chamber. The two reach the palace and the bird flies off to tell Kurangi of her lover's approach. Ratnasen scales the tower to finally reach her chamber in the clouds and spend a night of' love. THE CLOUD DOOR has been adapted from three sources: Bhasa's Sanskrit play " Aimaraka "(5th-7th century) Malik Mohammed Jayasi's Sufi epic love poem " Padmavat " (13th century) and the erotic Indian tales "Suksaptiti" (writer unknown).

The Insatiable Mrs. Kirsch

Background Ken Russell, the enfant terrible of British erotic cinema, just happened to be in Cannes for the MIP-TV market in April 1993. And he just happened to see the one-minute video spots running daily at the stand where Regina Ziegler was promoting her new Erotic Tales series. The director of the scandalous Women In Love (1969), adapted from D.H. Lawrence, and the visually exciting The Devils (1971), his version of Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudun, had just finished another Lawrence production: Lady Chatterly - so he simply offered his services. “I think I can have a script ready for you in a couple weeks. I’m directing a play in Bonn, so why don’t we meet again there?” In between rehearsals, over lunch at an Italian restaurant, Ken told Regina about the story of the breast pump… The Insatiable Mrs. Kirsch is an erotic tale cut from real life. Conceived by Hetty Baynes, Ken Russell’s actress wife, “it’s about sounds - rather what people think things sound like.” Take a breast pump for drawing milk, for instance - it sounds just like a vibrator! Now put the stray notion of a vibrator - running all the time behind a closed door in a hotel room - into the imagination of a fascinated pulp-fiction writer, and you have a male’s fantasy on the run: Just what kind of woman is this?! A couple of months later, Russell was shooting on the picturesque Dorset coast at an exclusive hotel near Swanage, nearby an ancient relic that’s a tourist attraction. Hetty Baynes plays Mrs. Kirsch, Simon Shepherd the distraught, distracted writer. “Delightful kitsch!” wrote a critic. “A big tease!” enthused a festival-goer in Denver. Vintage Ken Russell. Synopsis The woman, in her thirties, stands gazing out to sea. The man, a rather studious type, lounges on the grass and finds the woman fascinating. The woman passes closely by without a glance in his direction. He follows her. In the hotel dining room the man watches the woman nibbling a corn on the cob dripping with butter. A smile of satisfaction plays around the corner of her mouth. Before she has finished, "Mrs. Kirsch" is paged to come to reception. At least he knows her name. At breakfast the following morning our man watches her toying with a sausage. The hotel porter approaches her with a bulky envelope. When she splits it open a dozen polaroids cascade across the table and she hurries with the picture from the restaurant. The man follows her to her room and listens at the door. He hears the distinct sound of a buzzing vibrator. He can't stop following her. He is always close behind wearing some pathetic disguise. Wherever he goes, he hears the vibrator sound in the distance. She devours cream cakes, goes to the cinema alone in the afternoon to watch "Sex, Lies and Videotape " A most intriguingly insatiable woman... Back at the hotel that evening, he gathers courage to make contact and asks the waiter to deliver a bottle of e champagne and a note to her table. The waiter brings him a note from Mrs. Kirsch. She invites him for a drink in her room. She orders drinks from room service - our man dares to order a kirsch. But before the order arrives, she dashes off to the bathroom. That noise again! She returns, completely in control. Our man simply must act. He lunges for Mrs. Kirsch and confesses his obsession - he has heard the noise, the buzzing noise... Mrs. Kirsch reveals all...

Vroom, Vroom, Vroom

Once upon a time a teenager named Leroy did a bent-over old lady a favor. Leroy was a loner, not because he wanted to be, but because the other boys had things he did not have: like girlfriends. All Leroy had was pimples on his face.


Background Bob Rafelson, a compulsive drifter, has just returned home to LA from a six-week tramp across Turkey when Regina Ziegler phoned to ask if he would be interested in making an Erotic Tale. Why not? was his quick response. He had just wasted two years on the disappointing Man Trouble and welcomed a return to his roots. Back in 1969, his BBS Productions (one of the “B’s” stood for Bob) had backed Dennis Hopper’s Easy Riders, a sensation at the Cannes festival. Bob also directed one of the hottest scenes ever seen on the Riviera: Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson scorching a kitchen table in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1986). “So how about if I shoot this one in a bathtub?” Six weeks later, Wet was finished - and a screening of Bob’s “shortie” was arranged for Regina Ziegler at an Avid editing studio on Las Palmas in Hollywood. When a cassette was brought to the Cannes festival to preview the series for the Venice selection committee, Cannes scout Pierre Rissient raised an objection: “Can’t you keep it for us until next year?” Wet and The Dutch Master packed the Salle Lumière on a Sunday afternoon in May 1994 under the programming title Séance spécial - Contes de la séduction. So began a tour of the Erotic Tales at over a hundred film festivals. Wet launched the career of singer-actress Cynda Williams, the voluptuous young lady in the tub, who later starred in Mika Kaurismäki’s Condition Red. And when the Erotic Tales were programmed later at the Cairo festival, Wet was the only film that couldn’t be shown because it didn’t pass the government censorship board (no reasons given). Synopsis A huge bath showroom. Brass fixtures along the walls, sink and showers, enameled toilets, jacuzzi tubs, steam showers, all polished and gleaming. Saleswomen and salesmen move uneasily amongst the customers. Hardly anyone can afford the prices. The sales people are energetic but it's hopeless. They haven't made a sale in weeks. The manager Bruce, about 35, oversees the bustle. He's charming, well built. supercilious - and desperate to boost business. Davida. late 20's, enters just before closing time. Bruce senses she is a buyer. Well dressed and confident. Not the average family woman on a tight budget. He moves in. Davida needs a tub and she needs it fast. But she wants to fill one of the baths with water and step in. Not possible. There are rules - hygiene regulations. You can demonstrate the jets in a working tub. You can try out a dry tub. But you can't get in a full bath tub! Health department forbids; insurance forbids. They talk. Davida isn't sure. This is a substantial investment. She needs a tub for two. If she can't try it out she will shop elsewhere. Bruce relents. It's after hours. For this beauty he will make an exception. But is the tub big enough for two? He demonstrates. After hours. After dark. A deal is made.

The Dutch Master

Background The Erotic Tales began its festival run with a presentation of Susan Seidelman’s The Dutch Master at Telluride, America’s foremost cult and cineaste festival, in September 1993. Screened on opening night with permission of Gilles Jacob (the Cannes festival had already selected The Dutch Master and Bob Rafelson’s Wet for presentation in May 1994), film and director were introduced by guest festival director John Boorman. Seidelman was asked by Boorman about the inspiration for her Erotic Tale: a 17th-century painting hanging in the Louvre, Pieter de Hooch’s “The Drinker.” A year later, Boorman made an erotic short-feature of his own: Two Nudes Bathing (1995), programmed in the Certain Regard at the 1995 Cannes festival. Coincidentally (or was it?), Two Nudes Bathing was inspired by another painting that hangs in the Louvre - by an anonymous artist of the 16th-century Fontainebleau School. Seidelman next presented The Dutch Master in October at a closed screening during the prestigious Hamptons festival on Long Island. Enough members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saw the film to recommend it for an Oscar Nomination - and it received the Nomination in the Short Fiction Film category. Regina Ziegler’s Erotic Tales were thus the talk of the film world a month before the Cannes premiere even took place! Mira Sorvino, the dentist assistant enchanted by a painting hanging in a museum, doesn’t speak a word in The Dutch Master. She was later chosen by Woody Allen to play the chatty young porno actress who steals the show in Mighty Aphrodite, for which she received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Gilles Jacob, director of the Cannes festival, remembered how the festival had given a supporting hand to producer Regina Ziegler in discovering this fresh young talent - so he invited Mira Sorvino to serve on the International Jury at the 50th jubilee celebration. Synopsis Teresa, a young dental hygenist from Brooklyn in her twenties, is about to marry Joey, a traffic cop. A few weeks before her wedding, while eating lunch on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her two girlfriends, Teresa decides on impulse to go inside - and is fascinated by a young man in The Trinker, a Dutch painting by Pieter De Hooch. Suddenly the painting comes to life! A tipsy young woman in the picture has fallen off her chair, gets picked up by the handsome young man, and is carried giggling out of the room. On her next visit to the Met, she is pleasantly surprised when the young man in the painting winks and invites her to step into the picture. She does so - and finds herself in a strange world. To the embarrassment of her family and friends, Teresa doesn’t turn up at the church on her wedding day …

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