Dumpster Kid grows up in a rubbish bin. Right from the outset she wears red tights, red shoes and a red dress covered in little flowers. The actress who plays the Dumpster Kid, Kristine Deloup, wears these clothes along with a black Chinese pageboy wig in every story. This means that Dumpster Kid is recognizable straight away: no matter what she does, she will never be like the rest of us. At the beginning it looks like Dumpster Kid is quite happy in the rubbish container. She knows nothing else. Then someone comes up to her and tells her that that is not the way it should be. Everyone should have a mother and father, a warm bed in a bright bedroom, and be surrounded by love.
This is all new to Dumpster Kid, and out of good will she agrees to leave her rubbish container. Everything wasn't perfect in the rubbish container, and we should not leave her in there. But the alternative, unfortunately, is to have to deal with the rest of the world, and that is too complicated for Dumpster Kid. Suddenly she has to stop acting according to her wishes. She has to go through all the processes of learning and growing up. The result is that she kills, hurts and steals, is then killed herself, only to return in the next story to claim vengeance.
She played Ann (a Frenchwoman), which wasn't a role in the traditional sense, but rather a cinematic figure in the form of the actress: the actress was simply the author of what she portrayed. Ula Stöckl tells how Kristine was at the time obsessed with strange-sounding and foreign words, and one day stumbled across the Austrian swear word Dumpster Kid. They took the word literally and played with it, and in this way, according to Ula Stöckl, they came up with the idea and script for the film.
"The story started," says Edgar Reitz, "by taking some sort of social worker with a highly symbolic name. We decided on Doctor Welfare. One day she is cleaning her office, takes the rubbish out, and when she opens the lid of the rubbish container she discovers a child. She says: "You can't stay in there!" Ula Stöckl adds, "I can't take responsibility, if you are sitting in there." So, the child is pulled out of the container. The Dumpster Kid is an "amoral, or rather polymorphic, infantile, monstrous person" (Reitz) and is played by the adult Kristine Deloup.
She has no past, no history, no character, is "completely stylized" as a symbolic figure. The Dumpster Kid doesn't fit into any society. The Dumpster Kid does her best, but the result is always a deformation of her nature. Her attempts always result in the wrong behavior or the wrong attitudes. That's the way it goes in the bourgeois drama, the gangster film, the historical epic, the vampire movie, the science-fiction film, western or musical.
The Dumpster Kid is tortured, always gets up on her feet again in the next episode, and always represents resistance, the antithesis to each particular society, in each particular genre. And this because she is too human, and too much of child. In the parts of the film which are already finished or at least half-finished (for example the musical or the erotic episode in the bourgeois household or Dumpster Kid as a witch) it is clear, and may well become even clearer in the episodes which are set in different film-genres, that these genres are at heart nothing more than a rigid obedience to certain patterns of behavior.
Just as Dumpster Kid flies in the face of convention, so do the filmmakers go against the mores of the film-industry, both in style of genre and production technique. The production of Dumpster Kid moves forward in fits and starts, when the film-makers and their team, in-between other projects, projects which in turn help finance the making of the film. Reitz: "Dumpster Kid can only be used sensibly if, for example, its actual performance leads in turn to a new way of working.
We believe that we might be able to reach the point where the audience itself is able to decide with us on how the piece should be performed." Whether this actually transpires is impossible to predict. But it can't really be that far off the mark: any flawed result would still be a learning experience for Stöckl and Reitz. It is no longer important for them to make a film, which gets top marks on a purely aesthetic level. Because they are both also "Dumpster Kids", to whom Doctor Welfare also once said that they were no longer allowed to live in the rubbish container, as it would have been irresponsible, and not right.
Stöckl and Reitz want it to be possible to live in a reformed society without the influence of reforming welfare. And, irrespective of the result, that is a very important step.
Frankfurter Rundschau, 25.04.1970
02: This is no film for a quiet day off. The film industry's self-regulating body (the FSK) only agreed to release a 96 minute version film on the proviso that it would have a rating for over 18 year olds and undergo half a dozen edits. "The story of the Dumpster Kid, an outsider of society," according to the reasoning for the decision "is confusing and defective for young people. The film is full of unsavory turns of phrase. The disparagement, in the form of parody, of religious values is highly detrimental to young people. In addition the portrayal of sexuality appears in a form, which must confuse and disgust young people. (For example when the Dumpster Kid masturbates in the barley field.)
As well as this, the scenes in which the Dumpster Kid is throttled and hanged, as well as the drowning of other Dumpster Kids, are done in such a way as to damage the development of young people. Therefore the working committee denies the granting of a certificate of viewing for under 18s. Result: 18 year olds and older only admitted pending edits." After detailed information regarding the disgusting words and pictures to be cut, the FSK comes to the pious decision that Ula Stöckl and Edgar Reitz's new film, even after having been edited and placed under a ban for young people, should not be "shown on holy days."
Tagesanzeiger Zürich, 23.10.70
02: The love of cinema is evident in this film, a paradox when you think that this movie isn't even allowed to be shown in most cinemas.
Wilhelm Roth, Recklinghauesener Zeitung, 08.07.1971
03: This is a new and relaxed form of didactic film, which has a bit of fun by criticising society. We'll hear and see a lot from this Dumpster Kid.
Christoph Müller, Tauber Zeitung, 03.07.1971
04: The "Stories of the Dumpster Kid" are more than anything else short films for simple and enjoyable cinema. (...) These didactic films show that a new path of commitment and enlightenment is possible, all the while providing pleasant entertainment.
Karin Rau, dpa, Mannheimer Morgen, 08.07.1971
05: This series of 23 short films (64 are planned altogether) are among the most important and best films, which German cinema over the last few years has produced.
Ekkehard Pluta, Film International, Berlin 01.07.1971
06: "The stories of Dumpster Kid" by Ula Stöckl and Edgar Reitz is simple cinema, with the emphasis on enjoyment.
07: A cheeky exercise in loosening up contemporary cinema, both for the filmmaker and the audience.
U.S. in Nachtdepesche/ Telegraf, 30.06.1971
08: A film so full of sensitive intelligence and ingenious notions, so imaginatively didactic and yet so playful, that it completely bowls you over.
M. Delling, Deutsches Allgemeines Sonntagsblatt, Hamburg, 07.1971
09: "The Dumpster Kid" is like an extremely clever comic, critical pop-art, not stuck-up, but refreshingly direct.
Reiner Hartmann, Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 03.07.1971
10: Ula Stöckl and Edgar Reitz's film stops 23 times and yet keeps going: there is a finish but no end. Cinema, which is not compressed into the one-and-a-half hour format, and is thereby freed from the usual dramatic theory of how cinema should be. And yet, cinema it remains.
Klaus Eder, Deutsche Zeitung, 03.07.1971