Werner Schroeter: Magnificent Obsessions

1/19/13 to 4/7/13

Our tribute to the revolutionary director of film, theater, and opera Werner Schroeter (1945–2010) captures the marvelous range of his visionary oeuvre: early fragmented, stylized melodramas marked by an intoxicating use of music; nonfiction films that develop as free-ranging explorations of philosophy and culture; and later films that move toward art cinema, weaving more complex, dark narratives.

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Past Films

  • Flocons d'or

    • Sunday, April 7 5 pm

    Werner Schroeter (France/West Germany, 1976). Magdalena Montezuma, Bulle Ogier, and Udo Kier headline Schroeter's four-part narrative that swings from 1949 Cuba to modern France, “parodying along the way everything from kitschy Mexican telenovelas to French art films of the twenties” (TIFF Cinematheque). (170 mins)

  • The Rose King

    • Saturday, April 6 8:20 pm

    Werner Schroeter (West Germany/Portugal, 1986). Magdalena Montezuma (in her last film) stars as the regal mother of a “rose king” in love with a muscular youth, in this florid tribute to silent-film melodrama, by way of Jack Smith, Jean Genet, and Maria Callas. “One of the high points of eighties world cinema” (Film Comment). (106 mins)

  • Johannas Traum and Rare Early Work

    • Sunday, March 31 5 pm

    Introduced by Stefan Drössler. This presentation of Schroeter rarities, digitally preserved by the Munich Filmmuseum, features examples of his early experimental work, including his first 16mm film, Aggression, and Johannas Traum, which draws on unused footage of Candy Darling and Ingrid Caven in Schroeter's film The Death of Maria Malibran. (95 mins)

  • Lecture by Stefan Drössler: Schroeter's Beginnings as a Filmmaker

    • Saturday, March 30 8 pm

    In this special presentation, director of the Munich Filmmuseum Stefan Drössler illuminates the beginnings of Schroeter's film career through photos, documents, and tantalizing rare clips of Schroeter's first 8mm films and home movies, digitally preserved by the Munich Filmmuseum. (90 mins)

  • Salome

    • Wednesday, March 13 7 pm

    Werner Schroeter (West Germany, 1971). Schroeter sets Oscar Wilde's notorious play about the female temptress amid ancient Roman ruins in Lebanon, complete with eye-catchingly bizarre costumes and a music track culled from Arabic folk songs, Verdi, and Wagner. Pasolini combined with high opera and paganism: “sublimely severe” (Chuck Stephens, Film Comment). With early theatrical featurette Neurasia (1969). (122 mins)

  • Deux

    • Saturday, March 9 8:30 pm

    Werner Schroeter (France/Germany/Portugal, 2002). Isabelle Huppert delivers two of her greatest performances as a pair of twin sisters in Schroeter's “gorgeously composed, utterly berserk, and immensely moving work stuffed to overflowing with sailors, drag queens, suicides, cemeteries, cabaret singers, and more, all awash in opera arias” (TIFF Cinematheque). (117 mins)

  • Palermo or Wolfsburg

    • Thursday, March 7 7pm

    Werner Schroeter (West Germany, 1980). A Sicilian immigrant in Wolfsburg descends into madness and murder in Schroeter's Pasolini-by-way-of-Fassbinder drama. “Schroeter at his artistically most complex, all-embracing, and all-encompassing” (Cinema Scope). (175 mins)

  • Malina

    • Sunday, March 3 7:15 pm

    Werner Schroeter (Germany/Austria, 1991). "In one of the rare truly visual films about writers, Werner Schroeter generates extravagant images to match the insights of the nameless writer he films-played with ferocious precision by Huppert" (New Yorker). Written by Elfriede Jelinek from Ingeborg Bachmann's novel. (125 mins)

  • The Bomber Pilot

    • Saturday, March 2 8:30 pm

    Werner Schroeter (West Germany, 1970). Three high-stepping women pass through the cabarets, dance halls, and pastry shops of wartime and postwar Germany in Schroeter's irreverently grotesque pastiche of the legacy of Nazism. With Winter Journey (1980), a loose adaptation of Jean Genet's Querelle. (120 mins)

  • The Kingdom of Naples

    • Saturday, February 23 6 pm

    Werner Schroeter (West Germany, 1978). This postwar chronicle of Naples is played out through one family's sufferings, successes, and madness in Schroeter's paean to that city's great beauty, and great ruins. Schroeter's most straightforward (almost) film is opera filtered through neorealism, both hallucinatory and socially profound. (132 mins)

  • Eika Katappa

    • Sunday, February 17 5:30 pm

    Werner Schroeter (Germany, 1969). Archival print! Schroeter's dizzying first feature is a series of vignettes and songs assembled into a nine-part musical/camp format, by turns operatic, balletic, melodramatic, hilarious, and haunting. “This two-and-a-half hour funkfest is some kind of great movie” (J. Hoberman, Village Voice).

  • The Smiling Star

    • Wednesday, February 13 7 pm

    Werner Schroeter (West Germany, 1983). Schroeter's trip to the notorious Manila International Film Festival (dominated by Imelda Marcos) resulted in this “kaleidescope of a ravaged country.” “A work beyond categorization, more a weave or flow of different beauties that lie therein” (Cinema Scope). (108 mins)

  • Dress Rehearsal

    • Saturday, February 9 6 pm

    Werner Schroeter (West Germany, 1981). Schoeter's hymn to the place of art in life, and the wonder of a life of art, filmed during the 1980 Experimental Theater Festival of Nancy, France. “Less straight documentary than a personal, weirdly sweet vision of the human comedy” (J. Hoberman, Village Voice). (90 mins)

  • Mondo Lux

    • Saturday, January 26 6 pm

    Elfi Mikesh (Germany, 2011). Some of the key figures of the German avant-garde-among them Rosa von Praunheim, Ingrid Caven, and Wim Wenders-gather to pay tribute to legendary iconoclast Werner Schroeter in this moving documentary, made by one of Schroeter's closest friends and colleagues. (97 mins)

  • Willow Springs

    • Tuesday, January 22 7 pm

    Werner Schroeter (West Germany, 1973). Actor Ila von Hasperg in person. Introduced by Tom Luddy. Three women turn an abandoned shack in the Mojave Desert into a kind of Charles Manson commune in Schroeter's “meditation on the new feminism in America,” compared to Fassbinder and Robert Altman. With Schroeter's split-screen short Argila (1969). (112 mins)

  • The Death of Maria Malibran

    • Saturday, January 19 6:30 pm

    Werner Schroeter (Germany, 1972) Archival print! Magdalena Montezuma, Ingrid Caven, and Warhol superstar Candy Darling head a cast of women and cross-dressers who perform still-life duets in a series of theatrical, painterly tableaux in this tribute to Maria Callas, Maria Malibran, and other divas. (104 mins)