Till Eulenspiegel © DEFA-Stiftung, Klaus Goldmann
On the eve of the Peasants’ Revolt, Till Eulenspiegel—the legendary fool and provocateur of old folktales—goes tearing through the countryside laying bare society’s grievances. The powers that be try to silence Till and keep him from opening people’s eyes, but he doesn’t shy away from speaking the truth. He acts with wit and cunning towards the Kaiser, clerics and patricians; time and time again, he avoids getting in trouble with a roguish laugh.
The original script about Till Eulenspiegel was written by Christa and Gerhard Wolf and planned as a two-part feature film. It was rejected by officials, however, for financial and political reasons. The young director Rainer Simon was asked to adapt the script, but the production process that followed was nevertheless dogged by censorship. Although officials tried to keep a low profile for the film when it was finally released, audiences welcomed its irreverence with overwhelming enthusiasm.
“Bergemann drew inspiration from paintings and illustrations of the period for the costumes for Till Eulenspiegel. Like the music, the costumes are well researched and well designed. […] Bergemann’s skill as a costume designer ranks with the best on either side of the Iron Curtain.” —Jim Morton, East German Cinema Blog
“Till Eulenspiegel is a jovial, subversive portrait of the period of the German Peasants' War and its morality. [It is] about the popular jester who holds up a mirror to his environment, without fearing the consequences. The extravagant film production was based on a script by Christa and Gerhard Wolf, and its reception was controversial because of certain dramatic scenes.” —arsenal-berlin.de
“A noteworthy film by director Rainer Simon, which is shaped by his signature style and fantasy and displays his ability to draw all involved into a cohesive ensemble achievement.” —Renate Biehl, Filmspiegel
“A subversive DEFA comedy produced long before the end of East Germany.” —goethe.de