(out of 5)
Unapologetically weird film by Werner Schroeter, who once described his films as never having any low moments. This couldn’t be more true than of Malina, a zany mindfuck that travels through the psyche of a disturbed writer (Isabelle Huppert) as she contemplates her life, wrestles with her rational side in the form of a man named Malina (Mathieu Carriere) and indulges in a love affair with a man (Can Togay) she’s just met. Visually striking, especially in the last third with an extended burning apartment sequence, its nonsensical plot will drive you bonkers unless you allow yourself to simply indulge in the pleasure of Huppert’s performance: her madness is stultifyingly beautiful, and her intense talents have rarely been put to better use. Plus, for a woman most famous for her stony-faced intelligence, seeing her fall apart is a breathtaking reversal from the norm. The screenplay is by Elfriede Jelinek, whose novel Die Klavierspieleren was the basis for The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste) in which Huppert would star ten years later, and the young Huppert in the film is played by her own real daughter Lolita Chammah.
Directed by Werner Schroeter
Screenplay by Elfriede Jelinek, French dialogue by Patricia Moraz, based on the novel by Ingeborg Bachmann
Cinematography by Elfi Mikesch
Film Festivals: Cannes 1991