Skip to main content

Max Reichmann

Film director

Max Reichmann (1884-1958) is a German film director who began his career as a producer and worked with filmmakers such as Ewald André Dupont, Reichmann was Jewish and so had to go into exile in France, where he made the short L’apprenti sorcier, based on the famous poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He eventually emigrated to the United States and gave up working in film.

In 1926, his documentary Das Blumenwunder was acclaimed and is today regarded as a gem of silent cinema. What started out as material created to advertise fertilisers made by the company BASF turned into a cinematographic symphony on the life and death of flowers. Taking four years to shoot, it intersperses images of the movements of the plants with allegorical scenes and dance interludes by the Berlin Opera ballet company.

In his famous book Film as Art (1932), the art historian Rudolf Arnheim wrote that the use of time-lapse footage in the documentary made it possible to perceive facial expressions in the plants and the swaying, rhythmical breathing motions of leaves.

Update: 21 May 2021