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MY LIFE FOR ZARAH LEANDER

USA, 1985 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Christian Blackwood

Zarah Leander was a Swedish-born singer who was extremely popular in Germany during the Third Reich and became the premier star of UFA. Her deep, dark voice, great beauty and tailor-made roles established her as the darling of the big directors, including Douglas Sirk, and Carl Frohch, and she was said to be one of Hitler's favourite actresses.

After listening to several of Leander's records, Christian Blackwood became obsessed with making a film about her. But Zarah had died in 1981, and while Christian Blackwood uses archival footage of concerts and interviews in the film, he needed something more personal to make the film come alive. He found that in Paul Seller, a fan obsessed with Zarah who had dedicated his whole life to the singer as confidant, dresser, and substitute son/lover That encounter changed the tone of the intended film. Blackwood has indeed made a portrait of "The Divine Zarah", but he also explores, with uncanny insight, the fan/star relationship and gives us a picture of the impact of German film and popular culture during those turbulent years.

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