Needtovent recently discovered a fabulous website dedicated to Norbert Weisser -- an extremely talented actor whose impressive list of credits can be accessed at IMDB.com. Having worked with Norbert while producing THE RADICALS we were especially pleased to learn that the page devoted to our film continues to be by far the single most popular posting on this website...
Reprinted with permission from www.norbert-weisser.com --
Two very powerful stories are woven together in the 1990 feature film THE RADICALS. It is the biographical account of Michael Sattler who founded the Anabaptist movement around 1525. The other story, one that is just as apparent, is the story of the absolute love and devotion that Michael and Margaretha Sattler had for each other.
The movie begins by reminding viewers that by 1525 the Roman Catholic Church had united Europe for over 1000 years and their authority was under attack. Reformation had split Europe into two worlds -- Catholic and Protestant. Peasants were rebelling against heavy taxes, and Turkish invaders threatened to overrun Europe.
This film covers a very brief period in the lives of spiritual martyrs Michael Sattler, portrayed by Norbert Weisser, and Margaretha, the beautiful Leigh Lombardi. They broke away from their religious order, were married and then began a quest to return the church to the morality of its early years. Michael and Margaretha's love and the deep, heartfelt connection they share is readily apparent throughout this entire film. Margaretha ended up losing her life because she believed in Michael's message and stood strongly beside him. Because she loved Michael as deeply as any woman could ever love a man, she could not renounce her beliefs or her love for him even though doing so would spare her life. Their efforts resulted in a movement the medieval world wasn't prepared to accept and stood ready to terminate -- by any means necessary.
(Producer Robert A. Nowotny portrays a Torture Victim in a scene in THE RADICALS)
Executive Producer Michael Hostetler and Producer Robert A. Nowotny won the CINE Golden Eagle Award in the History category for this movie. Other film festival honors include the Chris Award from the Columbus International Film & Video Festival (1990), the Silver Award presented by Worldfest-Houston (1989), and the Wilbur Award given to "the best faith-based film of the year" by the Religious Public Relations Council of America (1990). Liza Vann served as the Associate Producer and Director of Photography Michael K. Bucher was responsible for the terrific cinematography.
The movie is distributed by Gateway Films/Vision Video and is available from Amazon and other retailers. Included with the DVD is a copy of The Schleitheim Articles as authored on February 24, 1527. (Just as a trivia note, they also have a biographical DVD on Gladys Aylward, the English missionary woman who traveled to China in the 1930's, as played by Ingrid Bergman in the wonderful 1958 movie THE INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS.)
Brief Biography of Michael Sattler
Michael Sattler was a monk who left the Roman Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation to become one of the early leaders of the Anabaptist movement.
Born in approximately 1490 in Staufen, Germany, Sattler became a Benedictine monk in the cloister of St. Peter and most likely became prior by the time he left in 1525. That year he traveled to Zurich, which was then embroiled in controversy over infant baptism. He became associated with the Anabaptists and was probably rebaptised in the summer of 1526. He was involved in missionary activity around Horb and Rottenburg, and eventually traveled to Strasbourg. In February of 1527, he chaired a meeting of the Swiss Brethren at Schleitheim, and was particularly influential in developing the Schleitheim Confession, a declaration of Anabaptist belief.
(THE RADICALS is also available on VHS)
All of the costumes for the battle scene and the entire movie, over 700 people in all, were all sewn by volunteers -- primarily by women in Switzerland, for no pay. They wanted to be a part of the film because it had substance. Additionally, over twenty horses were provided for the movie for free by volunteers.
Filming was done in 15th century towns and villages in Switzerland, Germany, and in France, especially in and around Strasbourg.
Michael Hostettler grew up in a missionary family setting in Brazil and was quite interested in bringing forth this important story based on the book "Pilgrim Aflame," by Myron Augsberger. Screenwriters Joel Kauffmann and Darryl Wimberley ensured that the human story was featured just as prominently as the Anabaptist story, and paid particular attention to the love and devotion Michael and Margaretha Sattler had for each other, as well as telling the story of how they lived and ultimately died for their beliefs.
In the special featurette on the DVD, Robert Nowotny has a great story about their many attempts to get the weapons used in the battle scene, swords, lances and the like, from France into Switzerland because they didn't have the proper weapons permits in place. They finally managed to get them across a remote border crossing, and were able to proceed with the filming of the battle sequence.
(Needtovent would like to thank the super-talented graphic designer Jane Bohon for her continued support of both Norbert Weisser and THE RADICALS at www.norbert-weisser.com. Not bad for a low budget, independent feature film that is now over 19 years old. How time flies...)
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Needtovent recently ran across a very intriguing newspaper article from our fine friends at Reuters. I don't know about you, but I'm calling Lufthansa right away. After all, not since the fall of the Berlin Wall has something more exciting or enticing happened in what was known as "the Fatherland" prior to the advent of condoms and birth control pills.
The article is reprinted below with occasional commentary by Needtovent's staff. (We couldn't resist.)
It did not take long for the world financial crisis to affect the world's oldest profession in Germany.
In one of the few countries where prostitution is legal, and unusually transparent, the industry has responded with an economic stimulus package of its own: modern marketing tools, rebates and gimmicks to boost falling demand.
Some brothels have cut prices or added free promotions while others have introduced all-inclusive flat-rate fees. Free shuttle buses, discounts for seniors and taxi drivers, as well as "day passes" are among marketing strategies designed to keep business going.
Discounts for seniors! That's a hell of a lot better than the Early Bird Special at Luby's Cafeteria...
"Times are tough for us too," said Karin Ahrens, who manages the "Yes, Sir" brothel in Hanover. She told Reuters revenue had dropped by 30 percent at her establishment while turnover had fallen by as much as 50 percent at other clubs.
"We're definitely feeling the crisis. Clients are being tight with their money. They're afraid. You can't charge for the extras any more and there is pressure to cut prices. Everyone wants a deal. Special promotions are essential these days."
Germany has about 400,000 professional prostitutes. In 2002, new legislation allowed prostitutes to advertise and to enter into formal labor contracts. It opened the way for them to obtain health insurance, previously refused if they listed their true profession.
They have health insurance! All I can say is that I hope it is better than my Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage...
Annual revenues are about 14 billion euros ($18 billion), according to an estimate by the Verdi services union. Taxes on prostitution are an important source of income for some cities.
Now that's a tax I can live with...
Prostitution is also legal and regulated in the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Greece, Turkey and in some parts of Australia, and the U.S. state of Nevada.
Texas once had a brothel or two as well. I hate Marvin Zindler...
In other countries, such as Luxembourg, Latvia, Denmark, Belgium and Finland, prostitution is legal but brothels and pimping are not.
Berlin's "Pussy Club" has attracted media attention with its headline-grabbing "flat rate" -- a 70-euro admission charge for unlimited food, drink and sex between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
That's quite possibly the best deal since Roosevelt...
"Our offer might sound like it's too good to be true, but it's real. You can eat as much as you want, drink as much as you want and have as much sex as you want."
Other novel ideas used by brothels and prostitutes include loyalty cards, group sex parties and rebates for golf players.
Golf players! I wonder if you get a mulligan if you come too quickly...
Ecki Krumeich, manager of upmarket Artemis Club in Berlin, said he resisted pressure to cut prices, although senior citizens and taxi drivers get a 50-percent discount on the 80-euro admission fee on Sundays and Mondays.
"Naturally, we're keeping an eye on the overall economic situation and making contingency plans," said Krumeich, who said his "wellness club" is one of the largest in Europe with about 70 prostitutes. Our philosophy is: we provide an important service and even in a recession there are some things people won't do without. Just about everyone's turning to advertising in one form or another. If the consumer electronics shop and the optician come out with rebates and special promotions, why shouldn't we try the same thing?"
Well that settles it. I've finally found something I can afford to do with my buddy Max Mosley after Formula 1 races.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Step aside Mr. Jared S. Fogle. You too, Mr. Morgan Spurlock.
Yes, there's no denying that Subway Jared's weight-loss regimen has propelled him to considerable fame and a very decent income stream. And Spurlock's successful film, SUPER SIZE ME, certainly gained both notoriety and, quite possibly, brought about a major policy change by the burgermeisters at the Golden Arches. But, as any self-respecting foodie knows, a good pu-pu platter has more than two enticing appetizers to choose from, and Needtovent welcomes the addition of a newcomer to the sub-genre known as "food for thought" films -- he's a gastronomical guru, a gangly Gerber goober named Brice Tea, aka THE BABY FOOD DUDE.
On the surface THE BABY FOOD DUDE appears to be just a silly, lightweight comedy that is so stupid in places it makes the screenplay for DUMB AND DUMBER read like the Magna Carter. But, surprisingly, there's some real "meat" (for lack of a better word) to this low-budget, light-hearted indie production that on the surface appears to be nothing more than lightweight fare for the faculty impaired. Mr. Tea, however, is anything but a lightweight, at least at the beginning of what becomes a grand experiment. You see, Mr. Tea is determined to lose weight and so he tries a bizarre method that, honestly, only someone with a slightly demented mind could conceive -- that being a baby food-only diet for 40 days and 40 nights. Biblical? No. Umbilical? Maybe. And it certainly seems like an immensely immature, impulsive, implausible, impractical, imprudent, even imbecilic way to loose weight. But it is not immoral, as this film has nothing to do whatsoever with Russ Meyer's THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS -- a must-see film with enough eye candy to even satiate Mr. Peepers.
But, as Jerry L. Nelson would say, I digress...
Weighing in at a portly 245 pounds before the grand experiment, Mr. Tea tallied an impressive weight loss of 29.4 pounds in those forty days. Perhaps just as important is the fact that this man's cholesterol dropped from 174 to 137. Not bad, not bad at all...
Accompanying Mr. Tea on his journey from Texas to Los Angeles, to San Francisco, to Las Vegas to New Orleans and back is his real brother, Herb Tea, who plays a quasi-retard whose addled outlook on life provides, on several occasions, surprising insight. In addition, a fellow musician named Boogie tags along until he's unceremoniously left behind to fend for himself. With his abandonment, Brice and Herb find several willing drummers along the way who join in the outrageous ditties played by their band, the "Cool Arrows." (When saying the band's name out loud Spanish-speaking citizens will surely get a laugh...) As for the staff at Needtovent, the Cool Arrows remind us of our favorite Texas ensemble -- the World's Most Politically Incorrect Band -- Feo Y Loco. Dr. Demento and all Feoheads everywhere will appreciate these moronic musicians and their music which, despite the absurd lyrics, is quite catchy and appropriate for the siblings' shenanigans.
As much a road movie as a dietary experiment, Brice's journey has him breaking an unofficial world's record eating baby weenies (shades of Takeru Kobayashi) as well as setting another remarkable record, being the first man ever to eat baby food while standing simultaneously in two countries at once. Bet you've never seen that before. And while "the wheels of the bus go round and round," transporting us across vast stretches of the U.S. of A., we meet a fantastic array of miscellaneous misfits, including a black midget, a gold man, a redheaded fantasy girl and a terrific Ozzy Osbourne impersonator (Randy Hanson) whose randy portrayal of Sharon's wayward hubby reminds us all to "remember the Alamo," although the Daughters of the Texas Republic may not approve...
For a very low-budget effort, special mention must go to the excellent outdoor cinematography. The various scenes of Brice spooning out a baby food bottle in front of the Grand Canyon and the Golden Gate Bridge, in particular, are stunning. Believe it or not, but the same holds true for some of the forground shots of Brice atop the porcelain throne attached to the back of the brothers' bus. (Apparently the one down side of an all baby food diet is a devilish case of diarrhea. I do believe Mr. Tea could have posed for Auguste Rodin were he still alive). Other kudos must go to Troy Gunther's droll narration and to Rose Lee Tea who poignantly portrays a mother's trying, but loving acceptance of her children who have yet to grow up. This is a very special performance, indeed.
THE BABY FOOD DUDE will be screened at the historic Brauntex Theater in Downtown New Braunfels, Texas during the Texandance International Film Festival on Friday, June 5th at 11:30 p.m. We can't think of a better way to spend seven bucks. After all, wouldn't you like to meet meet Mr. Tea -- the non compos mentis filmmaker extraordinaire?
More information regarding this film can be found at www.thebabyfooddude.com.