Film adaptation of the short Büchner story of the same name, which tells of the stay of the psychotic Sturm und Drang poet Lenz in the home of the Alsatian priest and philanthropist Oberlin. The poet, whose pathological hallucinations are becoming increasingly unbearable, hopes for help from the gentle clergyman. But Oberlin, too, knows no advice; he regards his friend's illness as God-given.
"Wild, rugged landscapes, village idylls, archaically simple relationships. Social institutions such as church and family are suddenly no longer regarded as constraints, but as scaffolding to which the poet Lenz, alienated from himself and the environment to the point of madness, clings." (Die Zeit, 9.4.1971). On earth, however, he is beyond help.
"Lenz" is a production of the Literary Colloquium Berlin (LCB). Free of commercial interests, the LCB made its production facilities available to film freaks and literati. George Moorse was at home in pop and underground culture; he came from New York and brought the cameraman Gérard Vandenberg with him from Amsterdam. After several short films and experimental works, Moorse achieved the feat of a true-to-life literary adaptation that finds expressive visual equivalents for Büchner's language. He entrusted the role of the Sturm-und-Drang poet to Michael König, an actor engaged at the Schaubühne, who also filmed with R.W. Fassbinder, Syberberg, Zadek and Peter Stein. Contemporary critics considered 'Lenz' to be masterful; König received a 'Filmband in Gold' as best leading actor. Wolfram Schütte placed 'Lenz' next to Werner Herzog's 'Lebenszeichen': "Two erratic blocks in our film landscape." (Michael Töteberg)