If feminist film theory in the wake of Laura Mulvey asserted (not incorrectly) that women are framed in dominant cinema according to a quality of "to-be-looked-at-ness," the (implicitly queer) early cinema of Werner Schroter reminds us that what we are looking at are not just neutered objects for aesthetic/sexual consideration, but volatile machines of expressivity. A supremely rich vision. Intoxicating.
This is probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. Schroeter makes me sad from being such a genius: he builds scenes like a poet - everything here is well executed, well placed and provoking: I just admire how he flerts with kitsch and tacky, and at the end he never actually is. In my opinion, this is what the art of cinema is made for.
Overripe, over-rich, and overwrought; and yet, and yet, and yet. I want to call this beautiful mutation an avant-kitsch extravaganza, but I regret the laziness of the appellation. At times, as so often with Schroeter, the film feels like an extended, ungainly music video in which the synching wanders in and out of true, enacting and inciting the delirium of desire always just under the surface of opera and artifice.
The expectations of male-dominant desire are overthrown by this film's powerful shots that never sexualise women, but instead give them all the power "to be". The beauty of their speech and bodies does not come from them being someone's object of desire, but because their are, truly, desire itself. As a political statement it is incredible, but it drags on for too long and the presence of music is really annoying.
The blackface is inexcusable. Typical for a cis white man to use blackness as a symbol for Candy's otherness as if black trans women don't exist. Buuuuuut I found most of the movie really remarkable. The 'Ramona' segment was a highlight for me.
A film that is the origin of a feeling, or treats feeling as locus. Bring a compass to navigate your anger. History, like lives, is never finished. I don’t want blackness as a stand-in for alterity to be “typical”, like walking that friend home after they drank too much. Charge head-long into unfinished business collecting dust, or in the time of Wikipedia page stumbling-upon, clicks.
Un filme-performance. Schroeter a través de un lenguaje hermético y poético condensa el amor y lo trágico a fin de exponer ciertos rasgos biográficos de la cantane Maria Malibran. Por tal vez eso es lo menos atractivo (y más enimágtico) del filme, pues en su lugar su estética de primeros planos, rostros y cuerpos que modelan y gestualizan entre las iuminaciones que traen a la memoria desde F.W.Murnau a Kenneth Anger.