The cold, the grim, the wind...BERLINALE 2011...But above all, the softly warm encounter with souls I recognize, with creative minds I worship.
Such was the tale about WERNER SCROETER, of whose films I had heard and previewed fragments in my San Fran tumultous years.
The documentary: Mondo Lux -- Die Bilderwelten des Werner Schoeter was produced by Frieder Schalich and directed and written by Elfi Mikesch. It is Werner Schroeter's friend and collaborator Elfi Mikesch that crafted with love a letter to the charismatic dandy and his working style, following Schroeter's 2006 cancer diagnosis.
The Director chose to pile up scenes of Schroeter rehearsing the play "Antigone/Elektra," while we assist almost as thiefs to bare discussions held during the installation of an exhibition of his photographs.
Mikesch knew she needed to record his working methods and capture his distinctive views on creativity, discussed here with energy and a deep artistic engagement, even when just with a few breaths left, just before Schroeter died in 2010.
There was always something fin-de-siecle, like a moribond romaticism about Schroeter's work, deeply influenced by opera and the way it exposed raw emotions through distinctly artificial devices, among which IRONY plays it all! His baroque films and stage productions frequently revolved around Eros and Thanatos. While Mikesch doesn't try to psychoanalyze her friend, Schroeter's mention of the suicides of both his beloved grandmother and his first love go some way toward helping the viewer understand the prominence he gave death in his works throughout the decades.
His playful rapport with former lover Rosa von Praunheim reveals his black humor, and Isabelle Huppert's warm recollections further the sense of a generous artist who made lasting friendships. While his youthful personal theatricality softed down with time, he maintained a deep appreciation for the impact of artificiality. His main argument was that artists have to distance themselves from the real world in order to create a new reality.