The Tin Drum: A Critical Ode in Picaresque (Part 2)

The Beat of My Own Drum

The Roman picaresque was a subgenre I did not know by name before embarking on this blogathon. So, having learned something, and wanting to chronicle a personal journey with a film, it was already a total success. Much like Mark Twain’s prelude/warning at the start of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, “those looking for a plot will be shot” while watching The Tin Drum but that’s not to say there isn’t a point being made and a story being told anyway, the method is just unconventional.

I cannot remember how I first came to view this film exactly. It may have been a rental. I do know that the original DVD release from Kino is one of the first DVDs I ever had. It’s a film that inspired me in a lot of ways from the audacity of its making to the outrageousness of its protagonist. So much so that it’s one of a few films that inspired an online persona. Once upon a time I used AOL Instant Messenger screen names like TheDustFactory, named after a film, and the incorrectly spelled OskarDeTrommler. I was drawn to, and understood, the charms of this character lost amidst historical events, and it’s a wonderful symbol and creation of cinema even if the desire to be drumming, and the fascist leader that should be followed, are read by Schlöndorff; I agree with one can’t even deign to have that kind grandeur of self-regard without some motivation.

As a rebel, and defender of free speech, and an artist; I bristled at the notion of the Oklahoma ruling that it was child pornography. Schlöndorff having faced censorship troubles with the film in quite a few markets understood the trouble he was just baffled by it occurring ten years after the fact.


The cinematic realism with outrageous occurrences and types; the impartial point-of-view that visually transcribes a world; “Germany confronting its past through Hollywood images,” as film scholar Timothy Corrigan stated it; the fact that it’s really a contrarian bildungsroman starring an Anti-Peter Pan (he ages but his body does not – a version of Oskar that only exists in the cinema); are just some of the things that drew me to it. It’s a film that goes beyond overly-simplistic representations, like a Christ figure, and it goes where the camera usually does not, which I am always a fan of.

Through these myriad sections you’ll specific illustrations in image and text as to how all the layers of this film work ever-so-beautifully.

One comment

  1. Silver Screenings · November 26, 2015

    Wonderful! I like how you’re setting the stage for us, and detailing your own reaction to this film.

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