When German director Alexander Kluge first burst upon the international film scene in 1966 with his debut feature Abschied von Gestern – (Anita G.) aka Yesterday Girl, he was at the forefront of the emerging New German cinema. The movie was proclaimed “Outstanding Feature Film” at the 1967 German Film Awards with Kluge also winning for “Best Direction” and it also won numerous awards at the Venice Film Festival. After such a glorious beginning, Kluge was soon overshadowed by R.W. Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders and other rising German directors as their work enjoyed wider acclaim and distribution outside Germany. That certainly didn’t discourage Kluge from moviemaking and his filmography to date includes more than 100 shorts, features and TV movies, most of which have been criminally overlooked by the same film critics who embraced his more famous peers. Yesterday Girl earned him the moniker of “The German Godard” and you can see stylistic similarities between the two directors but Kluge forged his own personal brand of cinema and one of his most important and audacious works is Gelegenheitsarbeit einer Sklavin (English title: Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave, 1973).Continue reading
Tag Archives: Senses of Cinema
The Secret World of Cenci and Leonora
Pretentious art house bomb, neglected masterpiece or inscrutable personal project for Joseph Losey? Secret Ceremony (1968) had the misfortune to follow Boom! (1968), the director’s notoriously lambasted film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore starring the world’s most famous celebrity couple at the time, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Equally challenging for mainstream audiences, Secret Ceremony was promoted as a kinky psychodrama with lesbian overtones and such tag lines as “It’s time to speak of unspoken things” and “No one admitted the last 12 minutes.” Yet, despite the presence of Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Mitchum and Mia Farrow, who had just appeared in the as-yet-unreleased Rosemary’s Baby the same year, the movie was too strange, decadent and moody to hold the attention of moviegoers and critics expecting a more traditional genre film.