Jürgen Reble Rumpelstilzchen (1989) Publications


Based on the fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm this montage brings together heterogeneous super 8 Found Footage and own personal shots. By hand developement and chemical influences an interwoven story about the conversion of simple elements to gold came out. (Jürgen Reble)


Germany 1989, 16mm BlowUp from Super 8, color, 15 min., sound, screen 4:3
Premiere: European Media Art Festival Osnabrück 1989
Distribution: Light Cone,Paris, prints in:
- 16mm optical sound
- Super 8 magnetic sound
- HD-Video 1440x1080, stereo


The “Piccolo-Film” credit at the opening of Rumpelstilzchen signals it as a “found footage” film. Piccolo released Super-8 prints for the German home movie market and Rumpelstilzchen was a 1955 B-Movie version of the Brothers Grimm story. Thus, originating from a Super-8 print of a 1950s version of the nineteenth century Grimm Brothers’ version of a traditional folktale, the provenance of Rumpelstilzchen is interesting. The Grimms were known to embellish, and for their Children’s and Household Tales (1812–1857) they introduced a spinning wheel and a miller’s daughter who could spin straw into gold to the Rumpelstilzchen tale. The spinning wheel sequences become a recurring motif in Reble’s reworking, a visual analogy to the reels on a film projector. Metaphorically the “straw” of the Super-8 film that Reble spins into “gold” is the live transformation of film material off the reel that Reble regularly practices in the mixed-media film performance, appropriately entitled Alchemy.

Rumpelstilzchen is not an exercise in meaningful, gratuitous deconstruction or recontextualisation; material distortions layer and abstract the images, the narrative is a fragmented, hazy, hallucinatory drama as images and voices loop and echo. This emphasises and reawakens the disturbing Gothic strangeness of the folk story. Imbued with a darker German romanticism filtered through post-industrial detritus, Rumpelstilzchen is in the time-honoured folkloric tradition of writing over; contemporary in its retelling, retaining traces of its earlier form.

[…] —Steven Ball, www.sensesofcinema.com

Le support instable

Jürgen Reble travaille la plupart du temps avec des found footage super 8 ou 16mm. Le film Rumpelstilzchen (1989) qu’il réalise en solo est le recyclage d’un film des années 30, l'adaptation du conte de Grimm dans lequel un nain transforme la paille en or. Le traitement réalisé sur le ruban est la mise en acte au moyen du film de cette opération alchimique. Le film noir et blanc original est saturé par la couleur, il a subi une mutation alchimique au travers d’une flamboyante polychromie. Ce film inaugure une pratique qui confère aux émulsions une nouvelle vie, en ce sens on peut la qualifier d'alchimique. (Yann Beauvais 2008)