73' (25 fps) / 1.33:1



Nikos Perakis
Nikos Perakis

COMRADE HOUSEMATE was my first film as writer, director and producer.

I shot it for the ZDF, specifically for the slot called Das kleine Fernsehspiel (The Little Tele-play) that had become an institution as a showcase for experiments by new screenwriters, directors and actors, but also for writers and visual artists who wanted to experiment with the medium, often without scripts or actors. I started writing at the urging of my colleagues at the U.L.M. co-operative, who were following the upheavals in my emotional sphere and convinced me that after a short marriage with a bourgeois intellectual, a vain effort with an orthodox Maoist, and an on-going, castrating relationship with a militant feminist, I possessed enough material for more scenarios. The ZDF editors liked the idea, so I started writing and story-boarding my passions.

I have placed this film under “FILMS” and not “TELEVISION” because after its broadcast in the late night time slot, I gave it to CINEMONDE, the first fashionable cineplex with two screens in Munich and the ΑΒΑΤΟΝ KINO in Hamburg.


Otto, a 35-year old architect, is an avowed bachelor who lives and works like a forerunner of the yuppies in his six-room, 250-square-metre austere but richly furnished apartment.

In a moment of Otto’s weakness, this world of design and misogyny is invaded by the graceful but left-leaning Cleopatra, student of languages and daughter of a German Egyptologist, who has just arrived from Cairo with her huge backpack to find a job back home. She gets a job and manages to install herself in the apartment, in Otto's 'reflection room', where there is only one armchair. There immediately begins a reversal of roles leading to Cleopatra's gradual conquest of the living space from which Otto, silently in love, is ineviatably evicted.


When I started writing the script about Otto’s passions, I imagined Martin Lüdke in the role and his ex-wife Gila von Weitershausen as Cleopatra. I had known them both from the time of the student theatre (Studio Bühne) and a production I had designed in 1965, before leaving to serve in the Greek army. Martin was a sought-after leading man and Gila had become very popular in the title role of Engelchen (Little Angel) in ‘68. When I returned to Munich, I heard that she had married Martin, but when I went looking for them for “Comrade”, I found Martin on his farm grazing sheep and Gila at her home with a baby in her arms – Louis Malle’s son, Cuotemoc. That confirmed me as screen writer, for indeed after the 'swinging sixties' in Munich there was an exodus from the city in search of alternative lifestyles, but this did not help me find actors. Fortunately, my friend, the experienced director Roland Gall, for whom I had done a lot of sets, had just shot a movie with Martin (LAND) and helped me persuade him, provided that I take him on as my assistant. I thought he was joking, but the next day he came to the ULM office to hire on. He claimed he wanted to remember his carefree years as an assistant... Finally, we also found an alternate Cleopatra, although he once was - as was I and the entire Studio Bühne - in love with Gila.


Martin Lüttge
Giulia Folina
Peter Moland
Frau Kaiser
Lina Karstens
Site Owner
Louise Martini
Georg Marischka
Ursula Fense-Kreiss
Katja Bechtholf
Helmut Alimontα
Alf Brustelin


Nikos Perakis
Director of Photography
Dietrich Lohmann
Assistant Directorς
Roland Gall
Janne Sperr
Set design
Adu Junkmann
Monika Altman-Kriger
Andrew Sisters
Production Manager
Joachim von Vietinghoff
Camera Assistant
Herbert Paetzold
Günter Stadelmann
Helga Wittenborn
Boom Man
Roberto Détrée
Helmfried Heinrich
Heinz Pusl
Production Accountant
Frau Pfister
Production Secretary
Traute Egger
Nikos Perakis Filmproduktion ULM, Zweites Deutsches Fermsehen



TV Transmission:30.03.73 23:05
Opening: ABATON ΚΙΝΟ HAMBURG 8.06.73

Duration 118’(24 fps)
16mm KODAK EASTMAN Reversible
Frame Aspect 1.33:1





Among the few work photos I found were some continuity Polaroids of the scenes. As I mentioned in CAST + CREW my “assistant” Roland posed in every picture taken by the script girl... just to remember the years when he was an assistant. So we did when Polaroid first emerged in the shooting of America America in 1962: we squeezed like natives around the object being photographed by the props man, in order not to waste the photo. I had calculated that one Polaroid was more expensive than my daywork...


COMRADE HOUSEMATE had to be shot in a large almost empty apartment, in order to have, besides the working room and the reflection room, a music room, another as library and a combined one for living and sleeping -see ground plan.

When our location search failed to find anything, I remembered the apartment of a friend who had played the role of King Cyzicus in "The Golden Thing". He was versed in eastern philosophies and lived on cushions on the floor of a 250 square-meter apartment. The apartment was in bad condition and that’s why we proposed that he let us have it for free for 16 days: One to gather up the cushions and personal belongings of the three-member family, four to paint, one to lay a carpet over the cracked and creaking floorboards, two to furnish, rehearse and set up basic lighting, and eight days to shoot, wrap, and put back the cushions.

The deal was closed, on condition that the family moved out to stay with friends for a few days. I was forced to put the stereo in the library because there was nowhere to set up a music room.

As for Otto's hair style, we did not follow the shooting board, where he only had sideburns - also very "in" at that time - but using instead my model for the character, a designer with whom I had worked at the architectural firm, we went to Vidal Sassoon to straighten his hair and cut a short square.