The German film mogul behind productions as varied as the excellent Christiane F., The Name of the Rose, The Neverending Story, Perfume, The Baader Meinhof Complex, The Downfall, and the less glorious Fantastic Four and Resident Evil series has died at the age of 61 after a heart attack.
Bernd Eischinger was described by Germany’s Culture Minister Bernd Neumann as “the German movie scene’s motor”.
Eichinger will probably be remembered for the controversial glamorised portrait of Hitler in The Downfall, where the ignoble dictator is shown under a humane if not tender light days before the fall of the Nazi regime.
However for those who were in secondary school in France in the early nineties like me, the producer might be associated with the cinema adaptation of Kai Hermann and Horst Rieck’s Christiane F., a book widely available in school libraries at the time which bore an appealing title (Moi Christiane F., 13 ans, droguée, prostituée) to teenagers searching for thrills in a corner of the reading room. It tells the sad story of a hopeless, glam-rock fanatic who engages in prostitution to get her daily dose of heroin. The ambiguous movie swings between grief and fascination at it follows the young prostitute’s demise, and includes a cameo appearance of David Bowie himself (an interesting, short review here).
The diversity and at times risky nature of Eischinger’s productions have definitely placed his production company, Constantin Films, at the centre stage of the current German film industry.