Don't Talk About Fate
Germany, 1991
9 min
Optical Sound


Ula Stöckl
Hartmut Haase
Julia Kunert,
Lily Grote

Monika Schindler
Basis-Film Verleih GmbH
und Ula Stöckl Filmproduktion


Grischa Huber


When the Wall came down and currency and country were united, the actress Grischa Huber thought it time to do something to console the German people. Like Hölderlin, she saw the Germans as a people torn apart. As a great devotee of J.C.F.Hölderlin she selected one of her favorite literary works, the novel Hyperion. She performed the work in the Hall of Paintings of the Hamburg Theater. Until 1991 she formed part of the ensemble in Hamburg. Her one-hour performance was a surprise hit both with the Hamburg critics as well as the young members of the audience. So she decided to repeat the Hölderlin evenings.

When I attended one of these evenings it became instantly clear to me that I had to make a connection between Ilse in my film "The Old Song" and Grischa Huber's evening. The actress had already agreed to sing Ilse's song in the film, reinterpret the song of Germany and play the beautiful and mysterious woman, which Ilse appears to be. Grischa Huber and I agreed on the impossibility of simply putting parts of the evening into the film. We decided to do a prologue. I selected nine excerpts from the work, which Grischa Huber had chosen. We dramatized these excerpts in the landscape of No-Mans-Land, the area in which the torn-down wall was being turned to rubble.

This became a short film, which is a key part of the film "The Old Song". Ula Stöckl
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The Film

Selection of excerpts from Hölderlin's Hyperion used in the film: "Everything on earth is imperfect is the Germans' old refrain. It is a hard saying, and yet I speak it because it is the truth: I can think of no people more at odds with themselves than the Germans. You see artisans, but no men, thinkers, but no men, priests, but no men, masters and servants, but no men, minors and adults, but no men - is this not like a battlefield on which hacked-off hands and arms and every other member are scattered about, while the life-blood flows from them to vanish in the sand?

But your Germans choose not to go beyond the barest necessities, which is the reason why there is so much botched work among them and so little that is free, that gives any genuine pleasure. Yet that could be overlooked, were not such men of necessity insensitive to what is beautiful in life, did not the curse of godforsaken unnature everywhere lie upon such a people. Would that I could show you a freer country, a country filled with beauty and soul, and say: Escape there."
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Filmbewertungsstelle Wiesbaden: Prädikat „wertvoll“

Supporting film of The Old Song. Excerpts from Hölderlin's Hyperion spoken by Grischa Huber:

Would that I could show you a freer country, a country filled with beauty and soul, and say: Escape there!