Louise von Plessen (Ed.)

Friedrich Dalsheim

Ethnographie – Film – Emigration

Language: German, English
360 pages, hardcover
224 illustrations
ISBN: 978-3-95565-505-1
Publication date: 2022
34.90 €

A discovery in the attic at the Gut Wahlstorf estate in Schleswig-Holstein led to this reclamation of the life and work of Friedrich Dalsheim, a pioneer in the field of ethnographic film. The director, screenwriter, producer and cameraman was born in 1895 in Frankfurt am Main, the son of Jewish parents. In 1936, prompted by professional exclusion and a ban from working enacted by the National Socialist regime, he took his own life while in exile in Switzerland. Dalsheim’s four films consistently adopt the perspective of those shown on camera. He filmed MENSCHEN IM BUSCH (1930), together with Gulla Pfeffer, in Togo. With Victor Baron von Plessen, who headed the expedition, and Walter Spies, he realized DIE INSEL DER DÄMONEN (1933) on Bali. PALOS BRUDEFAERD (1934) was created with Knud Rasmussen in East Greenland. Collaborating again with Victor Baron von Plessen, this time with Richard Angst behind the camera, Dalsheim shot DIE KOPFJÄGER VON BORNEO (1936) among the indigenous Dayak and Punan peoples in the jungles of Borneo.

This publication sheds light on the films’ expeditionary character and production conditions, on contemporaneous critique, and the historical and sociopolitical contexts. In the process, it raises questions about “ethnographic truth” in the realm between documentary and feature film and tells the story of Friedrich Dalsheim collection of objects from Borneo, which, in 1937, found its way into the Museum für Völkerkunde (formerly the Museum of Ethnology, now the Museum Five Continents) in Munich.


Contributions by Rainer Rother | Ulrike Ottinger | Louise von Plessen | Sophie von Plessen | Michaela Appel

Louise von Plessen

geboren 1992 in Kiel. Studium des Kulturmanagements und der Kunstgeschichte in Berlin.

Kuratorische, organisatorische und redaktionelle Arbeit für Ausstellungen und Publikationen, u. a. zur Geschichte der documenta und des Neuen Deutschen Films. Lebt in Berlin und Schleswig-Holstein.

This could be intereseting, too