Start Number 9
Peter Lilienthal, whose recent film David won the Grand Prize at the 1979 Berlin Film Festival, is one of the most prolific film directors in the New German Cinema. With the backing of German TV, he has produced more than thirty films, eight of which were presented at the 1978 Berlin Film Festival in a special retrospective tribute. Born in Berlin in 1929, Lilienthal fled the Nazis with his father in 1939, settling in Uruguay. In the mid-fifties, he returned to Germany where he studied painting and sculpture at the Berlin School of Fine Arts. He began working for German television in 1959, and made his first outstanding feature in 1966, Abgrunde. Since then his major features have included: A Premeditated Crime (1967), Horror (1968), Malatesta (1969), Jakob von Gunten (1971), La Victoria (1973), Hauptlehrer Hofer (1974), and Calm Prevails Over the Country (1976).
One of three documentaries produced by Lilienthal for Das Kleine Fernsehspiel, Start Number 9 is an intelligent and subtle portrait of the young pop singer Randolph Rose and his mother, an extraordinary gypsy born in Berlin and brought up partly in Auschwitz. The mother dominates the film as she does her son's career. The film explores backstage scenes in the German entertainment industry, while documenting a bizarre mother-son relationship.