The Death of Maria Malibran (1972)

WERNER SCHROETER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):    BBB

Original title:  Der Tot Der Maria Malibran

West Germany, 1972.  .  Screenplay by Werner Schroeter.  Cinematography by Werner Schroeter.  Produced by Werner Schroeter.  Film Editing by Werner Schroeter, .  

You might expect a traditional biopic about the musical legend of the title, provided you have no idea what it means to have Werner Schroeter behind the camera and in front of it. One of the most outrageous and challenging films in Schroeter’s oeuvre is this extraordinary treatise on art and expression that uses music from the famed opera singer’s period as well as more modern pieces to show the effect that artistic creation has on the melodrama of real life. There are a few scenes that loosely link to Malibran’s biography, but there is also lots of tableaux and random imagery: imagine Paul Morrissey’s features on a European art house level and you can pretty much surmise the experience here. It’s stunningly beautiful, but only for those already initiated into Schroeter’s world.

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