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Hermann Hesse’s Long Summer

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Chronicles Hesse’s life in Montagnola, Switzerland, from 1919 until his death.

This video examines the fascinating life of Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), one of the giants of twentieth-century German literature. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946 for his masterpiece «Das Glasperlenspiel» (The Glass Bead Game).

The film of the swiss director Werner Weick is a moving documentary, filled with photos and video clips of Hesse’s intense yet simple attempt to find meaning in his life. He indicated in his writings that his life had two pursuits: the need for solitude, and the need to communicate. To meet his need for solitude, he spent much of his life in the remote village of Montagnola, Switzerland (which towards the end of his life became a major tourist attraction, which he often lamented in his works). To meet his need to communicate, his house became a major asylum for German-born artists during the Nazi regime in Germany, as well as the many admirers of his works throughout his life. The video includes interviews with his two sons, his editor, and the doctor who examined him after his death.

Highly moving, Hermann Hesse’s Long Summer truly captures some of the author’s intensity and need for simplicity throughout his life. He liked the simple life of gardening and pulling weeds, and stated in his letters that he found most of his inspiration during this type of work. Hesse also answered over 35,000 letters during his lifetime, part of his need to communicate with others. He also dabbled with painting and artwork, which is featured throughout the video.

Versione in lingua italiana

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