Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Werner Schroeter, The Rose King (1985)

Recently via the Tompkins County Public Library, I watched a DVD of the Wim Wenders film Pina (Criterion Collection)

I've seen only 5-6 Pina Bausch productions in my life, all at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The first one was Viktor, done in NYC in 1988. Prior to that I knew of Pina Bausch via her performance in Fellini's And The Ship Sails On, and in the Werner Shroeter documentary Dress Rehearsal, which as far as I can tell is unavailable commercially. Dress Rehearsal was done at a performance festival in Nancy, France, and it includes footage of Kazuo Ohno and Pat Oleszko, who just prior to the time of the film, I had seen in appearances at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Several of us at the RC had Oleszko's poster of herself in a striptease costume as room decor. One of my RC colleagues knew of Oleszko via a Detroit artists group of whom I can no longer find any trace: the Motor City Free Arts Group (aka MC-FAG). 

Mostefa Djadjam is also in Dress Rehearsal. It's been a while but I recall him only as sitting at a table with Schroeter and others in the film. Perhaps garbled & distorted in my memory, I remember Schroeter addressing Djadjam with an affectionate, "Je t'aime . . . je t'aime . . ." Djadjam was the lead in the Shroeter film The Rose King (1985) which by circumstance - I worked at Film Forum at the time, where it had it's premiere in New York City - is the Schroeter film I know best, as a result. 

The cold slickness of the Wenders film of Pina Bausch would perhaps not has horrified me as much if I hadn't had my strong memories of the Shroeter title (or if I hadn't seen any actual Bausch productions which were much earthier and morbid than as seen in the Wenders doc). Shroeter's films touch on the complexities of longing, the films are beautiful in their economy, their affect: I find myself longing for such longing.