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PASSION - Hommage à Christiane Singer
AUT/F/DE 2011, 45 min


The film “PASSION - Hommage à Christiane Singer“ is a filmic essay in the footsteps of Christiane Singer, novelist, humanist, essayist, philosopher. The most important topic of the writer seems to be: How can the flames of passion and vitality be fanned in humans?

Christiane Singer is not a protagonist obeying to the media laws. Therefore, this film about her does not represent a classical portrait but rather an homage to the novelist Christiane Singer, who died in 2007.

In her film, Carola Mair tries to follow the traces of this versatile personality Christiane Singer who was a novelist, a humanist and a philosopher. Mair intends to create an awareness about the essential meaning of passion and vitality of each single member of our society.

A hectic world full of the mediocrity of every day life forces me as a film maker to con-

centrate on essential issues and to take on new challenges constantly for my filmic Topics.The film “ Passion – Hommage à Christiane Singer“ is the perfect example for it. It has become a very personal work due to my close relationship to the novelist, who died in 2007.

Throughout her entire life, Christiane Singer was bothered by one question: How can passion and vitality be aroused in human beings?At the same time, this topic has constantly accompanied me during my work as a filmmaker. How is it possible to touch and move people’s hearts with the help of the genre film?


The film “Passion – Hommage à Christiane Singer“ is a compassionate and expressive portrait oft he Austrian-French novelist Christiane Singer.
At the age of eight, she already started to write poems and could enjoy her first great success in France when she was only twenty years old.

In a poetic and very subtle way, the film leads the audience to look closely at Christiane’s everyday life while writing. It shows fragments from her life trying to describe the lasting impact she made as a novelist.The camera witnesses Christiane Singer’s remembrances of the places she used to stay at during her juvenility in Marseille; her reminiscences about the meaning of home country, foreign country, identity, relationships, but most of all about the spirit of language. And in this we can find the passion and the vitality of the writer herself.Thus, the central theme of the film is: passion and vitality of language, which can be seen as an expression of spiritual dignity and individual freedom.

Also friends, fellow-workers and members of her family are given a say. Among the family members are Peter Huemer, former boss of the TV discussion “ORF Club 2”, Felizitas von Schönborn, an expert of religious philosophy and a journalist living in Munich, Claire Delannoy, proof-reader of her French publicher in Paris, and Wieland Grommes, her German translator.

How can the flames of passion and vitality be fanned in humans?

This question bothering Christiane Singer throughout her whole life by means of her language is as old as mankind itself. In the film “Passion– Hommage à Christiane Singer“, the writer is presented as the embodiment of a passionate femme de lettre with the help of lingual documents and personal interviews.This leads to a certain atmosphere around herself and her texts that focuses on an immediate emotional touch. Certain sentences remain in conscience and continue to work in the thoughts of the onlookers.

The film is an invitation to draw one’s back on the burden of banality and rather turn towards the essential meaning of one’s own values.


Christiane Singer lived to different identities: the one as Christiane Singer, one of the most important French novelists, the other as Dr. Christiane Thurn-Valsassina, Professor of literature, speaker as well as Countess Thurn at Rastenberg Castle, Waldviertel.

Her two identities can be explained by her personal background: she was born in 1943 in the French port of Marseille. Her parents had fled from Vienna in 1933 in the course of the persecution of Jews. As a young student, she got to know the Austrian Georg Thurn Valsassina. After her marriage and the births of two sons, Raphael and Dorian, she moved with her husband to the family residence in Waldviertel.

She worked as a professor for literature in Basel and Geneva, and as a freelance writer since the beginning of the eighties. Her first book translated into German, “Tod zu Wien”, became a bestseller as well as her second one, “Zeiten des Lebens. Von der Lust sich zu wandeln”. Singer also worked as general secretary at the Austrian PEN-Club.

With twelve novels and essays that received many awards, she is one of the most important writers in France.

In November 2006, on the climax of her writer’s career but already bearing the marks of her illness, Christiane Singer was awarded the French prize “Grand Prix de la Langue Française” for her life’s work.

Screenplay, directed and produced by: Carola Mair

Filmed by: Erika Michalke, Carola Mair

Edited by: Johanna Tschautscher

Animation: Matthias Smicka, Susanne Jirkuff

Story told by: Silke Jandl

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