Wherever Viola Schlump (stage name La Paloma) performs, the audience includes Count Isidor Palewski, a corpulent young man who has followed her from one second-rate nightclub to another for years, despite her failure to show much interest in him. She finally consents to become his mistress when she is diagnosed as being in the advanced stages of consumption. Isidor takes her to Europe’s luxury sanatoriums, where she stages an unexpected recovery and starts to fall in love, not with Isidor but with his love for her, and agrees to marry him. When her belief in his love starts to falter, Viola falls ill again and sets out to revenge herself. About this heady exercise in excess –that mixes the operatic passion of La Traviata, the stylish decadence of Stroheim and Sternberg, and the macabre glee of Grand Guignol–, it has been said that “Daniel Schmid fashions this tale into a poem, a play of associations around the (romantic) themes of love, death and the tomb. He is fascinated and tormented by the artistic desire to examine the creatures of the night, the stuff of longing and despair”. –BAFICI
Daniel Schmid (1941-2006) was a Swiss film and theatre director. In 1992, at his 51 years of age, he created Hors saison, a film that is sort of the key to his oeuvre and his life.
Unlike many other filmmakers of his generation who, following the spirit of the ’60s and the New Swiss Film movement, were not averse to being regarded as socially and politically committed cultural professionals, Schmid considered himself, first and foremost, an artist. In the truest sense of the word, that which defines the artist as a master of a craft out of which something genuinely new, artificial as well as artistic, is created. For Daniel Schmid, what we call reality is the raw material from which he shaped new worlds and realities. –BAFICI