Sunday, 8 March
Nathalie Granger + Verfuhrung: Die Grausame Frau
doors open at 18.30, intro starts at 19:00
NATHALIE GRANGER 1972 Directed by Marguerite Duras 79 minutes In French with English subtitles
The French novelist Marguerite Duras had been writing novels and film scripts for years, but became frustrated when so much of her work was trivialized by the movie industry. Duras' novels were largely about poetry and suffering, but whenever they were filmed by others, it was exactly those two qualities that the result lacked. She was against such a narrow idea of cinema, and wanted to cover new ground... and that is why she decided to make movies herself. This is a haunting film, where the unspoken is louder than what is said. After all, even you dear reader, might have a deep secret that you would prefer not tell anyone about, and it might reveal more about you than anything you say. This is why silence can be elliptical and foreboding. This movie has this same aura of absence. It travels into a single household, where two women live together, but they don't speak to each other. They listen to the radio, and reports about a local child that has disappeared. The atmosphere is weird and off-key... everything is abnormal, nothing is said, and nothing is explained. The atmosphere is calm but sinister, disturbing but contemplative. Marguerite Duras defies science - in her films a room that is empty can be alive, and a room with two people in it can be dead. Many critics have pointed out that Claire Denis and Chantal Ackerman were influenced by this movie, and I would add Michael Haneke. It is referred to as "a landmark of women's cinema." It stars Jeanne Moreau and Lucia Bosè (Antonioni's Story of a Love Affair), along with a surprising cameo by 24 year-old Gérard Depardieu.
21:00 SEDUCTION: THE CRUEL WOMAN 1985 (Verführung: Die grausame Frau) Directed by Elfi Mikesch and Monika Treut 84 minutes In German with English subtitles
This is a classic example of the missing lesbian underground filmmaking that existed in Germany in the 1980s. It is Elfi Mikesch and Monika Treut's queer-feminist version of the transgressive novel Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Set in a sleazy district of Hamburg, the business woman /dominatrix Wanda organizes bizarre bdsm performances in her gallery. One of the performers Gregor (Udo Kier) breaks the rules of the master-slave relationship by faling in love with her, leading to a very twisted conclusion. The entire film is done in a collage-like surreal style, which blurs the border between the staged performances and real life. Lead actress Mechthild Grossmann gives a bold performance, and renowned art professor Peter Weibel can be seen in a supporting role as a toilet slave. Here is a host of reactions: "Thank you for this wonderful film." - Jean Baudrillard "... the perversion of masochism is neither explained nor promotes understanding among the 'normal' moviegoers. (...) completely unnecessary and annoying." - Hans Messias, Catholic Film Service "The lavishly beautiful images create a pull that is difficult to escape and make Seduction: The Cruel Woman one of the most mysterious films in German cinema."
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