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Werner Schroeter: Magnificent Obsessions

Sunday, April 7, 2013
5:00 p.m. Flocons d’or
Werner Schroeter (France/West Germany, 1976)

Magdalena Montezuma, Bulle Ogier, Ingrid Caven, and Udo Kier headline Schroeter’s four-part opera that dizzyingly 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). A green-eyed, tanned, and shirtless Udo Kier helps open part one, somewhere in “Cuba, 1949,” where Magdalena Montezuma toplines a tropical gothic by way of George Kuchar, only with more opera; in “La Hora Incognita,” she and her stunning peach-colored suit are reunited (very, very slowly) with another woman, who’s stuck in a rail-yard setting seemingly borrowed from 1930s French poetic realism, complete with bossy matron and well-mustached laborer. Schroeter’s campiest, most humorous work, filled with enough arias to last an opera house’s season and enough camp to fuel a hundred Susan Sontag essays, Flocons d’or was the revelation of the recent MoMA retrospective of his films.

—Jason Sanders

• Written, photographed by Schroeter. With Magdalena Montezuma, Ellen Umlauf, Udo Kier, Bulle Ogier. (163 mins, In German with English subtitles, B&W/Color, Blu-ray, From Munich Filmmuseum, permission fim & kunst)