Christoph Schlingensief, the “enfant terrible“ of the German theatre and film scene, has lost his battle against lung cancer at the age of 49 on Aug 21.

In a letter of condolence, State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann called Schlingensief “one of the versatile and innovative artists who had profoundly influenced the German-speaking film and theatre world”, while Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick spoke about the filmmaker’s commitment against deportations, racism and human rights’ violations.

A year ago, Schlingensief had served in the International Jury of the 59th edition of the Berlinale under Tilda Swinton.

With such films as 100 Years Adolf Hitler, The German Chainsaw Massacre, and The African Twintowers, Schlingensief earned a reputation as a trash filmmaker and provocateur. He also brought a political dimension to his work in the theatre and opera.

Most recently, he had been working on the project to establish an “opera village” in the heart of the African savannah in Burkina Faso. He had laid the keystone for an opera house this February as part of a development to include a theatre for theatre and music, performance spaces and a clinic.

His website says that donations in his memory can be made to the African opera project.