aka Dorotheas Rache
Dir. Peter Fleischmann, 1974
West Germany/France, 92 min.
In German with English subtitles
The shortlist of fans for Fleischmann's sex satire is nothing to scoff at. Among its most ardent fans were several household names of European arthouse: Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Claude Chabrol. Then there's the post-surrealist group the Panic Movement (comprised of Fernando Arrabal, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Roland Topor) who liked the film so much that they even decided to bestow upon the film a little rewardthe prix du group panic.
Dorothea is a 16-year old girl from Hamburg, brought up in a typical, bourgeois family. This changes one day when she comes down for breakfast and her parents find her completely disheveleda Martian has just raped her. So begins Dorotheas sex odyssey, as she seeks to understand her body and its various uses in an incereasingly consumerist society. The key to the film is that she approaches these question of sex with every ounce of naiveté common to a young girl. She tries to make softcore porn with her friends, and when that doesnt work, she gives prostution a turn, and so on and so forth. Theres seemingly no end to this excursion.
Fleischmann proved that he could produce biting political commentary within the confines of fiction in HUNTING SCENES FROM BAVARIA. Eschewing the traditional narrative scaffolding and riding on the back of a sex wave in European cinemaVilgot Sjöman's I AM CURIOUS (YELLOW), Duan Makavejev's WR: MYSTERIES OF THE ORGANISM, and the films of Walerian Borowczyk are key predecessorsFleischmann enlists a slew of experimental techniques, like having the characters routinely break the fourth wall and construing a hodge podge of stylistically contradictory scenes, from conversations with Christ on the cross to BDSM rituals. Moreover, humor is a constant presence, something that cant be said for many of the period's Eurotrash sexploitations. In one scene, theres a shot of three men getting an erection, played to brassy, courtly music. Its the promise of entertainment that gives an otherwise powerful political satire its enduring glow.
SPECTACLE THEATER (View)
124 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
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