Sukhdev Sandhu at the Financial Times:
In 1977, in a review for Der Spiegel of a short-story collection by Alexander Kluge, the poet and translator Hans Magnus Enzensberger wrote: “Among well-known German authors Kluge is the least well-known.” What was true then is even truer now, still more so outside his own country. Born in 1932, starting out as a lawyer working for celebrated Frankfurt School theorist Theodor Adorno in the 1950s, then as an assistant to Metropolis director Fritz Lang, Kluge is a direct link to many of the giants of 20th-century German art and ideas.
He’s also a polymath who moves between literature, philosophy and the moving image with equal facility, and has made decisive contributions to each of those fields. He was a key figure behind the Oberhausen Manifesto in 1962 that, like the similarly revolutionary Nouvelle Vague in France, championed expressive freedoms on screen, and incubated the New German Cinema associated with Fassbinder, Herzog and Wenders. He created the first German film school at Ulm, directed many important films – among them Yesterday Girl (1966), which won the Silver Lion at Venice, and developed a much-debated theory of montage cinema that, in the demands it placed on viewers, enacted his belief that “film is composed in the head of the spectator; it is not a work of art that exists on the screen by itself”.