In some way this is a post about Köln, the city in Germany where I was born…

Never Look Away (IMDB) is a new movie by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who also wrote and directed The Lives of Others (IMDB), the brilliant movie about 1984 East Berlin that won an Oscar in 2007.

Never Look Away is loosely based on German artist Gerhard Richter’s life – who is named Kurt Barnert in the movie. His art professor in the movie is Professor Antonius van Verten, who is modeled after Joseph Beuys. The story isn’t a documentary by any stretch. For example, Gerhard Richter studied at the art school where Joseph Beuys taught, but Beuys wasn’t his teacher. In fact Gerhard Richter has let it be known that the film is a gross distortion of his biography. Does it matter? I think not, because the story is moving and inspiring, the film beautiful. The movie is over three hours long, but *feels* much shorter. I watched it at the Tampa Theater, where I have performed numerous times since the mid-Nineties, and where this guy was the opening act for the movie:

And how does all of this relate to Köln? Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was born in Cologne, and Gerhard Richter has lived in Cologne for more than two decades.