Altenberg: The Little Pocket Mirror, Documentary Film Collaboration (2011)
The Austrian writer Peter Altenberg (1859-1919) described himself as ‘a little pocket mirror’. From his reflections on postcards to powder puffs and tea cups, this Viennese eccentric had a unique ability to see the world ‘in miniature’. A contemporary of Sigmund Freud and Gustav Klimt, Altenberg’s work is shrouded in controversy. From bouts of mental illness to obsessive relationships with prepubescent girls, Altenberg’s willingness to share his experiences of depression and passion ensured a level of notoriety that exists to this day. Despite this, his work is hardly known outside of Austria. Working with artist-filmmaker David Bickerstaff, Blackshaw retraces Altenberg’s footsteps through Vienna’s hotels and cafés, asylums and holiday resorts, creating a filmic portrait of a deeply troubled man living in a time and place – Vienna 1900 – that continues to captivate us. Produced by AtomicTV and University of Plymouth.