The nights of Tino from Bagdad by Else Lasker-Schüler

die nachte der tino von bagdad

Die Nächte der Tino von Bagdad

 “Die Nächte der Tino von Bagdad” (The nights of Tino from Bagdad) was written by the German poetess Else Lasker-Schüler in 1907. It is an extraordinary example of modernist experimentation and is a touching testimony of the poetic path of one of «the greatest lyric voices of Modern Germany». 
It is from an intense study of the writer’s ouvre, that our idea was born to try and realise that which the text seems able only to anticipate and prefigure, but for which the beginning of last century wasn’t technologically ready. Else Lasker-Schüler, who used to dress up like the characters of her novels, becoming a living representation of her stories, who loved the art of cinematography (and reflected it in her style), who walked a parallel path between literature and visual arts (as a protagonist as well as an appreciator) is a performance artist ahead of her time. 
Her appearances and public readings were famous, veritable “theatrical events” where the text was transformed into a sensory event, with an astounding character and an innovative presentation that involved all of the audience’s senses. Not only the texts’s themes, but also its experimental form make its modern adaptation for a film a challenge. Lasker-Schüler experimented with stylistic aspects that are almost futuristic, distinctive of modernist research, such as simultaneity, multi-perspective, onomatopoeic experimentation, as well as a complex approach to narrative, without a center, which mobilizes the idea of incomprehensibility as an element that forces the reader to adopt a fresh outlook towards the very idea of narrative itself.
Another powerful instance of this metatextual process is the Oriental setting of the tales. The narratives proliferate with elements that shift the “location/ localization” to the Arab world (veiled women, caliphs, grand vizier and dervishes, etc.); also, there are ample biblical references, quotations from the Greek universe and even Hindu culture, which render the topographic indications a mere scenario that does not guarantee a unified location. The scenic elements, the architectural descriptions, the ornaments and embellishments that are the basis of the imaginary become synonymous with a cultural stratification hanging in the balance of colonial ambitions and exotic fascination: they do not constitute geographic data, but provide the key to a re-reading of the urban space based on mythological architectures and imaginary topographies.

Eloisa Perone

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