Producer and documentary filmmaker Franz Xaver Gernstl has been on the forefront with helping establish German quality tv since 1983, and has been around for longer than Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern or Cesar Millan with a simple idea: Alongside camera man Hans Peter Fischer and sound engineer Stefan Ravasz, Gernstl hit the road in a VW bus and documented the life of common people along the road they travel for Bavarian TV. Gernstl has a way to get the people talking without the use of many words.
Nov. 2010 I got to watch, how Frank Sauer, a dear friend of mine, accomplished much of the same in a 5 part documentary tv series capturing the state of craftsmanship in the region; only this time without moderation, accomplished by steady, calmly observing, long camera shots.
With a documentary film comes the requirement of being authentic. And with three decades in the making, Gernstl’s documentary films where on the air before Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern leaped on their their learning curve, even before ‘authentic’ was coined a buzzword. With Bourdain, Zimmers or Milan reaching an international audience, it comes at no surprise that Gernstl now is in their footsteps with his current concept, ‘Gernstls Culinary Investigations’. His work has been compared to the work of Studs Terkel.
In episode one, we get to know amazing things from German born Mallorca rancher Marie-Luise Eike. That there is much more mental in agriculture at which point you are shown a close up of a properly rolled heap of cow poo, which is solid, no cow pat, the fluid puddle of diarrhoea you’ve grown accustomed to and even tailored your language to. You’ll need a solid understanding though or you are experienced with compost cycles.