1981-1990

Christoph Schlingensief – Mutters Maske AKA Mother’s Mask (1988)

Quote:

Mutters Maske aka Mother’s Mask is a free adaptation of the film Opfergang (1944) aka The Great Sacrifice of Veit Harlan.

Schlingensief exposes his source material’s dangerous proximity to kitsch and camp by reducing the genre conventions known from Harlan, Sirk, Fassbinder & Co to the level of a daily soap: set within a noble family from the German Ruhr, Schlingensief’s story revolving about Willy von Mühlenbeck’s tragic love to terminally ill neighbor girl Äls (Susanne Bredehöft) and the inheritance intrigues by his evil brother Martin von Mühlenbeck (Helge Schneider) creaks with melodramatic devices and self-conscious dialogues. Rather than being a mere spoof, “Mother’s Mask” is perhaps Schlingensief’s purest black comedy. Read More »

Helke Sander – Der Beginn aller Schrecken ist Liebe AKA The Trouble with Love (1984)

Quote:
In Love Is the Beginning of All Terror the paradoxical politics of emotion are parodied when two liberated, though jealous, women vie for the same man and perform for his gaze. The film addresses the oppressive structures that shape interpersonal relations as well as collective histories commented on in a voice-over. Read More »

Herbert Achternbusch – Hick’s Last Stand [+Extras] (1990)

Synopsis
[In Hick’s Last Stand] we witness yet another incarnation of a Last Bavarian Mohican, incoherently staggering across the badlands of South Dakota and Wyoming in white cowboy boots, black leather jacket, and a feather on his hat. Without dialogue, without other players besides Herbert Achternbusch, and with the most minimal narrative progression, the film consists only of an image track over which we hear Hick’s extended monologue, a declaration of love to the absent Mary, occasionally interrupted by songs by Judy Garland, Native American chants, and classical music. Read More »

Atif Yilmaz – Dul bir kadin AKA A Divorced Woman (1985)

Quote:
Among those who made interesting women’s films in the 1980s, and in the centre of the controversy about a feminist cinema, was Atıf Yılmaz. “A Divorced Woman” is one of those films about a woman who in the past had no other role but being a pretty ornament and sex object. She discovers her new sexuality with another woman. And adaptation of Necati Cumalı´s story by the same name (note: his play “bir sabah gülerek uyan”), about a woman who frees herself from male-dominated conventions. Read More »

Christoph Schlingensief – Das Deutsche Kettensägen Massaker AKA The German Chainsaw Massacre (1990)

Quote:
Sounding like some cheap pastiche, The German Chainsaw Massacre comes as a surprisingly independent feature, able to stand on it’s own without the crutch of it’s predecessor. However, Tobe Hooper’s movie is not so much tipped and winked as screamed in the face of in this relentless madness and more specifically in a similarly edited chainsaw chase through a forest. Choosing to loosen Hooper’s tight bolts of ‘humour’, Schlingensief loses dramatic intensity but gains an awesome sense of the egregious: unemployed customs officials form appalling folk groups at the West/East border and a woman with a knife up her butt sits down… Read More »

Alain Delon & Robin Davis – Le battant AKA The Fighter AKA Ice (1983)

Synopsis:
Jacques Darnay (Delon) is released after having served ten years in prison for robbing a jewelry store. Much about that crime remained a mystery: the stolen diamonds were never recovered, and no one knows exactly how Charby the jeweler died. At his trial it was declared that Darnay acted alone, yet the size and complexity of the heist make that seem highly unlikely. Darnay’s release is anxiously awaited, by both the police, who hope he’ll reveal more information about the crime, and by some of Darnay’s former friends, who have a few ideas as to what might have happened to the diamonds. Having, perhaps, played in his years enough of both, Delon is the perfect point man in this duel between cops and crooks, capitalizing on each side’s strengths and weaknesses while decidedly pursuing his own agenda. Read More »

Andrei Tarkovsky – Offret (1986)

The Sacrifice, director Andrei Tarkovsky’s final film, begins in Bergmanesque fashion on a small, remote island, where friends and family gather for drama critic Alexander’s (Erland Josephson) birthday celebration.

The revelry is interrupted by a radio announcement: World War III has begun, and Mankind is only hours away from utter annihilation. Each of the guests reacts differently to the news: the most dramatic response is Alexander’s, who promises God that he’ll give up everything he holds dear – including his beloved 6-year-old son – if war is averted. Allan Edwall, a local mailman with purported mystical powers, offers to intervene with the Creator on Josephson’s behalf. Read More »