In Kurt Krenn’s filmography I read: 1971 25/71 Klemmer und Klemmer verlassen die Welt (Klemmer and Klemmer are leaving the world); 16mm silent; action during Robert Klemmer’s funeral
Wednesday, August 6th, 1997.
I walk to Cafe Jelinek where I pick up Kurt after lunch. Together we walk up Otto Bauergasse towards Mariahilferstrasse in order to get the subway towards the city center. Kurt wants to show me a picture of Robert Klemmer the painter in Cafe Alt Wien. “The key to the film’s title” he says. I want to know whether Robert Klemmer was a friend of his. More a booze buddy than anything from Cafe Sport, says Kurt. Robert Klemmer dies at the age of 33 in his bathtub. He suffocates in the fumes of the instantaneous water heater because a brick fell into the exhaust hood. Kurt shows me the painting in Cafe Alt Wien. Right of the entrance and opposite the bar, high up on the wall, there it is, yellowed by the cigarette fumes it merges into a diffuse union with the yellowish-brown wall. The picture shows Kurt Kalb the celebrity host and Robert Klemmer next to him in front of a nocturnal city backdrop. Kurt tells me that he always painted himself into his pictures. He was never famous. He would not have received an honorary grave even though his painter friend Peinitz would have campaigned for it. I suggest we visit Robert Klemmer’s grave. Kurt doesn’t remember which cemetery he was buried at. It was undulating. After a few phone calls it turns out it was the Hernals cemetery. We get going.
The cemetery administration informs us that he was not buried here after all. He suggests the Dornbacher cemetery a few kilometers away. When I change cassettes Kurt says I am an optimist.
There is a satellite aerial in front of the entrance to the administration of the Dornbacher cemetery. Kurt giggles. Here it’s the cemetery’s nursery garden which holds all the information.
The computer is booted. Yes we’re in the right place. 42 - 5 - 3 is the code on the paper I am given. Group 42, fifth row, third grave.
26 years ago it was here that Kurt Kren followed his dead friend Robert the last time.
Kurt is filming. Suddenly the film jams inside the camera. He pulls it out and throws it on the casket lid in the open grave in front of him. That’s how Klemmer and Klemmer left this world.
His last voyage was recorded on film by Kurt until the camera drive stopped. Sometimes the clocks stop in a house where there’s been a death.
The painted look-alike on the pictures of the living has turned into a filmed look-alike of the photographed dead.
Kurt says he never thought he would live past twenty or thirty, but then he gave that up. Back in the days he used to like walking around in cemeteries, but now, he says, he is too close to the reality of it.
Concept, Realisation, Camera, Sound, Editing
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