Thomas Bernhard rarely gave interviews on camera. He found, however, the journalist Krista Fleischmann to be an empathetic interlocutor and gave her two famous interviews: Monologues on Mallorca and a film, I am the cause, made in Madrid. Taken as a whole, these interviews bring together statements that offer insights into Bernhard’s life and way of working; his critical world-views; and his ambivalence about the Catholic Church, Austria, and the world. Irrefutable formulations transform his sentences into the kind of aphorisms found in his literary works. But it is also the rare flashes of insight into Bernhard’s tragic youth, and of his writing practice that turn these two films into unique portraits. Bernhard wanted the cameraman to make “unconventional images which one would normally throw away”. And, in fact, we see the author’s unfamiliar, almost happy side: at the harbour, in the café, at a bull fight.
Krista Fleischmann, Monologe auf Mallorca & Die Ursache bin ich selbst – Die großen Interviews mitThomas Bernhard, 1981/1986, 94 Min, courtesy Krista Fleischmann; Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2008.
Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989) was a writer. He lived and worked in Vienna and Gmunden. Bernhard studied drama at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 1963 he started his career with the novel Frost. In a short space of time he published further novels and stories such as Gargoyles, Yes, The Loser, OldMasters: A Comedy, and Extinction. Additionally he wrote 18 plays and five autobiographical stories. He was honoured with the Georg-Büchner-Preis (1970), Premio Letterario Internazionale Mondello (1983), and Prix Medici (1988).
Krista Fleischmann worked as cultural journalist for the TV-channel ORF. In the 1980s she filmed two TV-portraits about Thomas Bernhard.