Have you ever been to New York? do you live with someone do you have a plant What's the meaning of life? When you meet the filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim, you don't know at first who is actually interviewing whom. On an autumn afternoon he is standing in a Berlin gallery and hanging up his new exhibition. It's called "Naked Men - Naked Animals".
He's standing there with a turquoise hat, young men are working around him, and the gallery owner is bringing green tea. For the exhibition, he colorfully painted over male nudes. Von Praunheim is one of those people who are not afraid to look others in the eye for a long time. This Friday (November 25) he will be 80 years old.
At the beginning of the interview he says: "And now: Intelligent questions, right? "Mr. von Praunheim, why do you look so good at your age?"
"Mr. von Praunheim, why do you look so good?"
"Cosmetic surgery," he says. And laughs.
If you want to explain what von Praunheim has already done, you have to go far. Many know him as a director, for example because of his films "The Bettwurst" or "It's not the homosexual who is perverted, but the situation in which he lives". Some remember his glittery and plush costumes. Or his argumentative appearances on TV talk shows.
Celebrities outed on talk show
Years ago, for example, on "Talk im Turm" he said things that sound natural today. "Being gay is an equally equal form of sexuality." He sat there in a denim shirt, the gap between his teeth showed in his smile, a good-looking man.
What was discussed at the time was probably Praunheim's most controversial action. He outed TV chef Alfred Biolek and comedian Hape Kerkeling on TV in 1991. At "Talk im Turm" the moderator wanted to know what made him accuse others of homosexuality. Von Praunheim asked what the word meant, it sounded so strange. "Am I accusing you of heterosexuality?"
Even then it could be observed that von Praunheim was able to skillfully ask questions. On the show, he explained that he was responsible. Especially people who are present in the media have a responsibility to show that homosexuality is an equal way of life. "We have to be visible." Others criticized his action as encroaching.
He has often been asked whether he regrets the action. "Don't regret it because you haven't regretted it yourself either," von Praunheim replies. Kerkeling and Biolek said a few years later that they felt very liberated and experienced great solidarity. "I was the bogeyman."
Homosexuality is not a private matter, he once said. Is that still valid? "Yes, of course, of course. In general: sexuality is not a private matter. For example, you keep reading stories about young girls that have never been enlightened. They don't know what a period is. Of course it's not a private matter. It's one too Matters of parents, teachers, doctors."
A fortune teller predicted the date of his death
He comes from a time when there were still penalties from hell for sexual misconduct. "That's why it's not a private matter," says von Praunheim. But it is important that people are informed. "Even straight men. They don't know what a penis is either - except that it gets stiff and can fuck."
That afternoon von Praunheim looks cheerful and a little pale. If you ask him how he's doing, he says that his health isn't all right. But who is that at that age? In the past, von Praunheim has flirted with the statement that a fortune teller predicted the date of his death.
"I'll only die in a year. On October 16, 2023," he says now. The three of you would have bought a grave - von Praunheim says he lives with his partner and his ex-boyfriend. He has already designed a large painting for the tomb. "But I think the astrologer miscalculated by a year." But then the time would already be over? Well, it could happen any day, he says. "Not many survive the excitement about the exhibition and the birthday."
Smart water after death
Is that a nice feeling that life can end at any time - or is it a less nice feeling?
"A wonderful feeling. I think death is a wonderful thing. Sleep forever. Rest. And you become intelligent water - in case you don't already know that." Are there naked men and naked animals where you go when you die? "Yes, of course. Sex after death - I believe in it very much. I also wrote a book with the title and made a film."
Isn't he religious?
"I'm omniscient. I believe everything you can imagine. I believe in the spaghetti monster as much as I believe in reincarnation."
At some point during the conversation, the photographer and gallery owner Frieda Vogel sat down at the table. Among other things, she recalls that von Praunheim went in and out of Andy Warhol. And that he has been fighting for his cause for a long time. "This courage to be provocative at the time and to do it consistently to this day," she says, "that has my greatest admiration."
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