Historiography: DAVID SCHICKELE


The American volunteer organization Peace Corps was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. David Schickele (1937-1999) was one of the first to contribute to improving the world in this way. In the very year of its founding, he went to Nigeria to teach English. His film BUSHMAN (1971), for which Schickele is now best known, has its origins in the friendships he made there at that time. In 1966, he made GIVE ME A RIDDLE, which took Schickele, who had been successful in the United States as an actor and musician, back to his former stomping grounds. Although intended as a promotional film for the Peace Corps, GIVE ME A RIDDLE also contains reflections on the role of American “aid workers” in the “Third World.” In BUSHMAN, Schickele then sought a perspective from the opposite direction: a man from Nigeria goes to the American West Coast. In the complementary constellation of the two films shown at the Viennale, a critical image of the early postcolonial condition emerges.

In the presence of Gail Schickele.