Skip to main content


Netherlands, 1973 (MIFF 1975)

Director: Philo Bregstein

This film biography is the reconstruction of a period which coincides with the life of the conductor: the musical-historical climate of the beginning of this century in Germany, the great influence of Mahler, Schonberg and Stravinsky.

At the same time, the film shows the general social climate: Klemperer's life as an assimilated Jew in Germany; post-revolutionary Russia, where Klemperer went every year until 1936; the Weimar Republic, where Klemperer's career reached its climax when he created the 'Krolloper' in Berlin, in 1927. After Hitler came to power, Klemperer fled. Becoming a successful conductor in America, his career broke off after a brain tumor operation in 1939, which left him partly paralysed. He overcame his handicap, but remained without work until 1945 when he became conductor of the Budapest Opera. But when, in 1949, Mozart's Don Giovanni was called an immoral work, Klemperer returned to the United States.

There, his passport was withdrawn during the McCarthy witch-hunt period. Klemperer returned to Europe to work with the London Philharmonia.

In 1972, at the age of 86, Klemperer stopped conducting. He spent his last years composing, already a life-long activity. He died at the age of 88.

All this is told by authentic voices: Klemperer himself speaks the principal commentary; the other voices are those of his daughter, Lotte, the philosopher Ernst Bloch, composer Paul Dessare, conductor-composer Pierre Boulez, whom Klemperer regarded highly.

See also...


A full-length feature originally made for television, in which Dutch historian, Jacques Presser, depicts his personal life-story. ... Presser is the author of “Ondergang”, a book which revolves ... More »


Brainwash is a science fiction cartoon about a society in the not too distant future, in which everyone is brainwashed. One young member resists . . . ... More »

Butterfly ✝ 1975

By 1975 the extinct butterfly will be only found framed in a museum. ... More »

The Making of a Ballet, Rudi van Dantzig, a Choreographer and his World

A record of the day-to-day work of Rudi van Dantzig, director of the Netherlands' National Ballet Company. The film follows the genesis of a new ballet, and also shows Nureyev rehearsing a part in ... More »

Piet Mondriaan, a Film-essay

The film traces Mondriaan's development from naturalism, through cubism, to pure abstraction. The sound track combines a sparse commentary with quotations from Mondriaan's own words. ... More »

We Have No Answer

A human being of an older generation in today's environment. A farmer's wife. 63 years old, somewhere in France, makes up her mind about her past life and the future existence of others. Today's ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director