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Karl May’s cultural figure Winnetou is currently being criticized by many people. The accusation against the staging of the chief: racism. Michael Herbig, director of the Winnetou parody “Der Schuh des Manitou”, is also more critical of the whole thing today.
What about Winnetou now? That’s a question many people are asking these days – and opinions differ widely between racism and cultural history. In addition to Karl May, Winnetou’s forefather, actor and director Michael “Bully” Herbig also made a film with the chief. He would no longer do the Karl May film parody “Der Schuh des Manitou” like this today.
“I made the film 22 years ago and it was a parody of films that were in cinemas 60 years ago,” explained the 54-year-old on Friday evening’s Radio Bremen talk show “3 after 9” in an interview with Giovanni di Lorenzo. Back then, it had to do with passion, the joy of playing and the realization of dreams.
But why would Herbig approach it differently today? “The comedy police have gotten so strict.” That takes a bit of the innocence and freedom, said the comedian, who, as a director, will be bringing the film “A Thousand Lines” to the cinema with Elyas M’Barek and Jonas Nay at the end of September – a cinematic approach to the scandal surrounding the “Spiegel” reporter Claas Relotius, who is called Lars Bogenius here.
The art of making a comedy
Herbig said he thinks it’s right that people don’t talk about certain things like they did 20 years ago. There are many loud voices these days and everyone is “dissatisfied with the overall situation”; he still has no answer for himself, said Herbig, somewhat at a loss.
That’s why shooting a comedy is much more difficult today: “Because you have the feeling that you’re stepping on people’s toes very quickly.” When someone throws the argument “You hurt my feelings” at you, you can’t say, “That’s not true.” He believes that there will soon be fewer people doing comedy because many think “that’s too hot for me”.
Herbig also said that it becomes very complicated when a group that is shown in the film is divided into camps. Then there are people who say “I find it funny, I recognize myself there, I feel caught, I can laugh about it” and others who say “I feel discriminated against or I feel insulted, hurt”. For Herbig, that makes things complicated: “Then I’m out, then I don’t know who to listen to anymore.”
Why are we discussing Winnetou?
The debate about Winnetou arose after the Ravensburger publishing house announced in mid-August that it would stop delivering two children’s books based on the film “The Young Chief Winnetou” and remove them from the program. In an Instagram post, Ravensburger wrote that user feedback showed “that we hurt the feelings of others with the Winnetou titles”. A number of users of the social media platform accused the company of giving in to criticism. There was also support for the decision.
Herbig became popular in the 90s with the comedy show “Bullyparade”. The film “Der Schuh des Manitou” is about the two blood brothers Abahachi (Herbig) and Ranger (Christian Tramitz) who are wrongly accused of murder. The images of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand speak Bavarian and are looking for a treasure map, crime boss Santa Maria (Sky du Mont) is on their heels.