warum ich Filme wie “Milk” nicht mag

14 Feb 2009 von Stefan Höltgen

Schon am vergangenen Dienstag lief im Panorama Gus van Sants neuer Film “Milk“, der in Kürze auch hier in den Kinos startet. “Milk” erzählt die Geschichte des Homosexuellen Harvey Milk, der Mitte der 1970er-Jahre in San Francisco ein Geschäft für Fotozubehör eröffnet und dort als bekennender Schwuler auf den ganzen Hass und die Vorurteile seiner Mitmenschen trifft. Harvey will, dass es endlich ein Ende mit der Diskriminierung sexuell anders orientierter Menschen nimmt und geht in die Politik. Mehrfach versucht er sich ins Rathaus wählen zu lassen und nach Jahren gelingt ihm dies. Sein langer Weg dorthin, auf dem ihn viele Freunde begleiten und wieder verlassen, der seine Ideale auf den Prüfstand stellt und ihm mächtigere Feinde als bisher verschafft, erzählt der Film in einer langen Rückblende: Harvey Milk sitzt nämlich eigentlich an seinem Küchentisch, macht sich Sorgen über eine Morddrohung und spricht seine Lebensgeschichte in einen Kassettenrecorder. Für alle Fälle.

“Milk” ist das, was Fraçois Truffaut 1959 in einem richtungsweisenden Cahier-Beitrag einmal “cinéma de qualité” genannt hat: Ein hochpoliertes Drehbuch, das eine Geschichte erzählt, die dem Film und seinen genuinen Ausdrucksmitteln eigentlich keinen Raum mehr lässt, sich dafür aber aufgrund seiner an der historisch-politischen Korrektheit ausgerichteten Story seines Erfolgs sicher sein kann. Dieser Erfolg hat genau zwei Gradmesser: Erstens die Menge an Zuschauern, die nach der Sichtung aus dem Film kommt und leicht kopfnickend zu sich sagt: “Gut, dass das Thema endlich einmal aufs Tapet gebracht wurde.” Und die Menge an Oscar-Nominierungen und späteren -Auszeichnungen, die der Film mit Sicherheit einheimsen wird.

Dass das amerikanische Kino der Hauptverhandlungort für die amerikanische Geschichte ist, ist keine Neuigkeit. Dass diese Verhandlung nicht erst seit Figuren wie Oliver Stone auf die Bühne getreten ist und im Modus der Kritik erscheint, ist auch nicht neu (im Prinzip haben das bereits der Spätwestern und die letzte Phase des Film noir gemacht). Der Hang zum Hyperrealismus, mit die geschichtskritische Aufbereitung stattfindet, und das sich rekursive Versichern der Erfolgsaussichten eines solchen Projektes, sind allerdings noch nicht so alt. Es gibt bestimmte Indikatoren – oder aus der anderen Richtung gesehen: bestimmte Erfolgszutaten -, die solche Produktionen auszeichnen. (Wer mich kennt, weiß, auf welche dieser Indikatoren ich regelmäßig schimpfe – weswegen ich sie hier jetzt nicht ausführe/aufzähle).

Was mich an all dem stört, ist erstens, dass die Rechnung dieser Produktionen dann auch noch aufgeht: Im Prinzip sind es enorme Konsensmaschinen, die mit der Produktion in Gang geworfen werden und man meint schon fast, man habe sich als Kritiker der Diskursmacht zu fügen. Der perfide Sicherheitsmechanismus, der in diese Maschinen eingebaut ist, funktioniert ja auch meistens so, dass an einer negativen Kritik vorgeworfen wird, es sei das Sujet, das kritisiert werde und nicht der Modus der Vermittlung. Letzerer diene dem Kritiker lediglich als Tarnung, um dem kritischen Impetus des jeweiligen Films (gegen Schwulenfeindlichkeit, gegen Nationalismus, gegen Unterdrückung, …) reaktionär entgegenzutreten. Gegen solche Gegenkritik kann man sich immunisieren, weil sie eigentlich kein extrinsisches Argument vorzuweisen hat. Im Rechtfertigungszwang fühlt man sich dennoch häufig.

Schlimmer ist jedoch, dass diese Filme Themen “verbrennen”, deren Aufarbeitung wirklich sinnvoll wäre. Um wieder zum Beispiel “Milk” zu kommen: Der Film ist geschwätzig, hat aber unter all seinem Wortballast nichts zu zeigen. Man kann das alles bereits in historisch-kritischen Auseinandersetzungen zur jüngeren amerikanischen Geschichte nachlesen, man muss es sich vom Film nicht vorlesen lassen. Die filmische Vorlesung mit mimetischer Illustration des Textes (nichts anderes sind die Bilder von “Milk”) dient nur dem einen Zweck: Der Hyperrealisierung von Historie.

Jean Baudrillard hat es Ende der 1970er-Jahre einmal “Retro-Szenario” genannt, was Hollywood mit der Geschichte veranstaltet. Die dort produzierten Zeichen überdecken mit ihrer Diskursmacht nach und nach jede andere Zeichenproduktion und werden zur “einzigen Wahrheit”. Man muss das nicht zur simulationstheoretischen Verschwörung ausbauen, es gibt ja noch genügend andere Quellen; es lässt sich aber schwer leugnen, dass auf diese Weise inszenierte, diskursmächtige Filmproduktionen mit ihrem Erscheinen eine Verformung der Geschichtsrezeption auslösen. Man frage heute nur einmal einen jungen Menschen, was er über ein bestimmtes historisches Thema weiß: Die Antwort wird wohl zur Hälfte Zutaten aus der Zeichenproduktion Hollywoods enthalten.

Das ist sicherlich zu einem großen Teil auch Polemik. Aber ich finde es einerseits wirklich bedenklich, welche Erfolge solche Produktionen wie “Milk” immer wieder ernten; andererseits bedauere ich, wie Autoren und Regisseure damit (vielleicht verlockt vom Erfolg) ihre ästhetische Einzigartigkeit dem common sense des “cinéma de qualité” opfern. Man werfe bloß einmal einen Blick in die Filmografie Gus van Sants (“Elephant” -> “Milk”) … oder David Fincher (“Se7en” -> “Zodiac”) … oder Steven Soderbergh (“Sex, Lies, and Videotape” -> “The Good German”) …

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