From the Plays of FRANK WEDEKIND and the Opera by ALBAN BERG
THE BACKGROUND STORY
Lulu was filmed in San Francisco in the summer of 1974. Interiors were created in the warehouse at 136 the Embarcadero, and the auxilary scenes were filmed in the elephant cages of the San Francisco Zoo. These scenes were to be used for the Houston Opera’s production of Alban Berg’s opera, Lulu. Chase found additional funding, and asked many actor friends to volunteer in the cast. Paul Shenar was one of the leading actors at the American Conservatory Theater. Elisa Leonelli who had not acted in films before, was introduced to Chase by a close friend in Rome. The filming was completed at the end of August, and all the crew then set out for Europe, where another project was filmed for 2 weeks in Europe. (see Bruges-La-Morte). When Chase returned his editor informed him that there simply wasn't enough footage to make a feature film of Lulu. The scenes were edited for the Houston production (and played simultaneously with the staged action) but the film project was declared dead and void.
Production Stills at San Francisco Zoo.
One year later, Chase returned to the project and decided there really was enough footage to mold into a film. He re-thought the entire project. The film now was silent, with dialogue cards, and rearranged material--beginning scenes contained the most artifice and move toward a strict realism in the final scene. At one moment the film bursts into sound, utilizing the most effective dialoug scene from the original shoot. All the actors returned for a week of filming all the close-ups and moments missing from the first shoot. Piano music from the period, and appropriate small sections of the opera added to the atmosphere. An elaborate soundscape was created by a friend, Todd Boekelheide. (Academy Award for Amadeus) After its run at European festivals in 1978, the film was scheduled to open at La Pagode in Paris. However, due to a former misunderstanding the company who owned the rights to the Berg score refused to approve the music rights and the film had to be shelved.
Lulu was given its Europeon debut at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 1978. It was chosen by the Berlin Film Festival, London Film Festival, Dublin Film Festival, Deauville Festival, FILMEX, Los Angeles, Florence Film Festival of American Films, Ghent FIlm Festival, and Brussels Film Festival.
Selected as one of the 3 best films of 1978 by Paris Match.
STILLS: THE FACES OF LULU