1971-1980Amos Vogel: Film as a Subversive ArtArthouseEdgar ReitzExperimentalGermanyUla Stöckl

Edgar Reitz & Ula Stöckl – Geschichten vom Kübelkind AKA Tales Of The Dumpster Kid (1971)

A woman screams, a newborn baby cries. A nurse leaves the hospital and dumps a bucketfull of slimy afterbirth into a bin.Moments later, Kubelkind (“Dumpster-kid”, an Austrian insult) emerges fully grown from the slime. “Frau Dr. Welfare”, a cold, upper middle-class do-gooder discovers Kubelkind in the dustbin and plans to “save” her. But such “polymorphous-perverse, infantile monsters” have no place in normal society….

“Tales Of Kubelkind” was a bizarre series of short films made between 1969 and 1971 by Ula Stoeckl and Karel Reisz. Envisaged as sequence of 64 episodes running for 10 hours, the project was abandoned in 1971 due to lack of funds. Each episode, made collaboratively with the actors and technicians, has a different adventure for Kubelkind, many of them parodying conventional film genres, i.e. a cannibalistic Heimatfilm spoof or a hilarious shoplifting sequence set in a supermarket which suddenly turns into a satire on inane commercials.

The directors solved the problems associated with distributing such an unconventional film by opening the Kneipenkino, a “movie-pub” where patrons could drink and select episodes from a menu, jukebox-style. Customers were also encouraged to submit ideas for future episodes and,probably more importantly, to suggest schemes for funding.
“Tales Of Kubelkind” was rarely screened due to its confrontational nature. The FSK (German censor board) report makes hilarious reading: “”The story of the Dumpster Kid, an outsider of society, is confusing and defective for young people. The film is full of unsavory turns of phrase. The disparagement, in the form of parody, of religious values is highly detrimental to young people. In addition the portrayal of sexuality appears in a form which must confuse and disgust young people”. Stoeckl and Reisz seem to have caught the late 60s zeitgeist, especially the burgeoning feminist movement.

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