Werner Schroeter

b. April 7, 1945, Georgenthal, Thuringia, Germany

filmography
bibliography
web resources

Thomas Elsaesser once described Werner Schroeter as “the German cinema’s greatest marginal filmmaker.” (1) Indeed, beginning his fimmaking career in the 1960s, Schroeter has been an important and influential proponent of the New German Cinema, although his personal eccentricities and refusal to use conventional narrative tools in his films have rendered his work somewhat obscure and less marketable than some of his more famous contemporaries such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog and Volker Schlöndorff. In 1979, Schroeter’s friend and colleague, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, speculated upon the place Schroeter and his films might some day hold for the history of cinema:

Werner Schroeter will one day have a place in the history of film that I would describe in literature as somewhere between Novalis, Lautréamont, and Louis-Ferdinand Céline; he was an ‘underground’ director for ten years, and they didn’t want to let him slip out of this role. Werner Schroeter’s grand cinematic scheme of the world was confined, repressed, and at the same time ruthlessly exploited. His films were given the convenient label of ‘underground’, which transforms them in a flash into beautiful but exotic plants that bloomed so unusually and so far away that basically one couldn’t be bothered with them, and therefore wasn’t supposed to bother with them. And that’s precisely as wrong as it is stupid. For Werner Schroeter’s films are not far away; they’re beautiful but not exotic. On the contrary. (2)

Born at the very end of the Second World War in Germany, Werner Schroeter spent most of his childhood between Bielfield and Heidelberg. His education was interrupted intermittently by periods of international travel during which time he occasionally attended German schools in foreign countries, finally completing his high school education in Heidelberg. One can imagine that these periods of international travel may have inspired the many foreign locations he later chose for his films: Naples and Palermo in Italy, Paris, Nancy and Marseille in France, Mexico, Portugal, Lebanon, The Philippines and the Mojave desert in the USA. His command of foreign languages—French, English, Italian—too might well have been made possible less through his education than by his childhood travels of the world. After leaving school, Schroeter enrolled at the University of Mannheim to study Psychology, but completed only three semesters. After abandoning his university studies, Schroeter worked intermittently as a freelance journalist before enrolling at the Film and Television School in Munich where he remained for only a few weeks.

In late 1967, after having begun to make short experimental 8mm films, Schroeter attended the experimental film festival in Knokke, Belgium where he was able to view a number of films of the New York Underground, exposing him not only to the numerous aesthetic possibilities of experimental cinema, but to the possibilities of independent film production, which would enable him to remain relatively free from the institutional constraints of the commercial film industry. It was in Knokke that Schroeter also became acquainted with another German experimental filmmaker, Rosa von Praunheim, with whom he worked in various capacities on a number of films. Schroeter and von Praunheim co-directed Grotesk-Burlesk-Pittoresk (1968) and Schroeter acted in von Praunheim’s short film Sisters of the Revolution (1969). In 1968 Schroeter acquired a 16mm camera with which he made his first feature-length film Eika Katappa (1969), a film that won him the Josef von Sternberg prize at the Manheim International Film Festival and effectively launched his filmmaking career. In the early 1970s, Schroeter began to pursue his other passions in theatre and opera and has ever since maintained prolific parallel careers as director of film, theatre and opera. (3)

Schroeter’s films can be divided roughly into three historical phases, which also coincide roughly with changes in format from 8mm to 16mm and then to 35mm. The first phase comprises the 8mm films all made between 1967-1968. Schroeter’s first 16mm films, Aggressionen, Neurasia, Argila (all 1968) are clearly an extension of his earlier 8mm experiments and form something of a transitional phase. Schroeter’s concerns and cinematic techniques during this first phase are largely minimal and experimental. A series of 8mm films dedicated to the opera singer Maria Callas, whom Schroeter greatly admired since being introduced to her music by his mother as a child, consist largely of still photographs of the singer. In these films, Schroeter displays a fascination for Callas’ face and her gestures through a rhythmic montage of still photographic images. At one point in Callas Walking Lucia (1968), Schroeter rapidly montages a series of photographs of Callas in the role of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in order to animate her dramatic cry. Even in these rather crudely and primitively constructed films, Schroeter displays a deep interest in opera, performance and gesture, concerns that he will return to time and again throughout his career.

Der Tod der Maria Malibran

Schroeter’s second phase begins with his first feature Eika Katappa and includes a number of films made in co-production with the Second German Television station ZDF. During this phase Schroeter moves away from the largely experimental techniques employed during the first phase to produce films with more complex thematic concerns and a more developed sense of characterisation, although contained within particularly fragmentary and episodic narrative structures. These films are composed of disconnected narrative fragments that often have little if any connection with one another. Sebastian Feldmann describes the structure of Schroeter’s last 16mm film Flocons d’or (1973-76) with the term Erzählflöckchen, or ‘little narrative flakes’, a term that aptly described the structure of most of the films of this period. (4) In these films, Schroeter often borrows his themes from literature, opera, theatre, legends and fairytales. They contain recurring scenes of love, death and longing most well expressed by the German word Sehnsucht, a word that refers to an intense longing or desire for something or someone that remains unattainable or intangible. It is this concept that links Schroeter to the traditions of German Romanticism. It would be a mistake, however, to simply label Schroeter a ‘neo-romantic’, for what Schroeter does with this romantic legacy is to deconstruct it into fragments; he quotes and interprets these fragments for the late twentieth century. It seems to me that rather than simply returning nostalgically to the ideas and ideals of a past age, Schroeter captures and rescues mere fragments of the dreams and hopes of the past as he finds them in a state of irreparable decay: his work is one of an allegorist. Contrary to the ideals of Romanticism, Schroeter does not maintain a distinction between high art and popular culture but attempts to break down these distinctions, to render them superfluous. Thus, in Eika Katappa for example, Schroeter has an ageing pop singer die as dramatically on the side of a country road as he would direct a great Diva to perform one of opera’s great death scenes on stage. In another film of this period, Der Tod der Maria Malibran (1971), Schroeter depicts the death of the nineteenth century mezzo-soprano Maria Malibran. Regular Schroeter performer and collaborator Magdalena Montezuma plays Malibran, briefly sketching the singer’s death in a few, melodramatic gestures. However, Schroeter does not concentrate upon every detail of the death, nor does he attempt to recreate it ‘as it really was’, rather, he seems to dehistoricise the event, even changing the location of her death on stage from Manchester to ‘an evening with Robert Schuhmann and Franz Liszt’ in Berlin indicated by an intertitle in the film. For Schroeter, the historical place of death is not what is important, but rather, through Malibran he shows us a life that has been exhausted, consumed by its own intensity as she quite literally ‘sings herself to death.’ The viewer comes away with the impression that for Schroeter, Malibran could have died anywhere, as long as she was on stage when it happened! Malibran prefigures some of the other highly passionate but ultimately mortal figures who appear in later films including Der Rosenkönig (1984-6), Malina (1990) and the various ageing divas who appear in his documentary Poussières d’amour (1996).

In Der Bomberpilot (1970) Schroeter displays a similar disrespect for historical ‘truth’ in his treatment of post Second World War Germany. In this film he tells the stories of three fictional women who had performed in Nazi revues during the war. Rather than attempting an ‘authentic’ recreation of historical post-war Germany, Schroeter uses these three figures to provide the viewer with a sense of the disorder, crisis and repression that beset the German population after the war and resulted, according to Margarete and Thomas Mitscherlich in a popular forgetfulness regarding the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. (5) Schroeter does this by attributing to these women a kind of ‘false’ memory regarding the recent past and through the somewhat ‘faulty’ gestures they perform while recreating their revue show performance. The viewer is lead to question how these three somewhat clumsy individuals could possibly have conformed to the order, discipline and regularity that characterised the products of the Nazi culture industry, and we are by extension also asked to question ‘official’ versions of that history.

Schroeter’s films in general, but particularly the films of this pivotal second phase, present a challenge to the fixed, hierarchical status of art and culture in Western society; one of his great achievements is to bring the very notion of such a hierarchy into question. This is not to say that his attitude toward ‘high’ art is dismissive, on the contrary. Ulrike Sieglohr has argued that although “Schroeter challenges certain aspects of canonical art, he does not reject ‘high’ art as such. His approach is always ambiguous, since he celebrates as much as he parodies.” (6) Indeed, ambiguity is a constant trait of Schroeter’s films, which allows for a degree of openness that tends either to engage or frustrate viewers depending on their tastes. Schroeter’s films, particularly of his second phase, require us, as viewers, to engage in a complex process of interpretation. In fact, it is upon this very notion of ambiguity that any interpretation of Schroeter’s work must hinge, for nothing in Schroeter’s cinema is simple. His work is a testament to the very possibility of the coexistence of both celebration and parody, of both ‘high’ and ‘low.’ As in Walter Benjamin’s theory of allegory, in the films of Werner Schroeter everything holds within it the possibility of referring to something else. Schroeter’s films always contain multiple levels of meaning.

In 1978, Schroeter moved into the realm of the 35mm feature film with Regno di Napoli. This third phase is comprised of two strands: one being the fiction films, and the other the collage-like documentaries, or ‘essay’ films. With the fiction films of this phase, Schroeter begins to develop much more complex narrative techniques and strategies and tends to move away from the largely episodic structures that dominate the second phase. As a result, distribution of his films becomes much more viable and his films begin to reach a much wider audience. The first of these, Regno di Napoli is constructed as a family chronicle and is played out in and around a poor neighbourhood in the southern Italian city of Naples between the years of 1943 and 1972. It focuses upon brother and sister Massimo and Vittoria who, as their names imply (meaning ‘the great’ and ‘victory) become allegorical but ironic figures in the films. Allegorical because they embody wider social phenomena such as the conflict between politics and religion within the confines of the domestic sphere. Ironic because, despite the resilience these children demonstrate as they pass through life from childhood to adulthood, they are ultimately unable to rise very far out of the misery into which they are born in post-war Italy: perhaps a comment on Italy itself. Massimo and Vittoria become the material and mortal emblems of the eternal struggle against poverty. By adopting a style clearly influenced by Italian Neo-Realism, Schroeter cleverly uses these individual stories to parallel and comment upon wider historical events as they occur in Italy over the period of the film. Schroeter makes use of a voice-over chronicler, who comments upon the wider historical context at two-yearly intervals. The chronicler begins with an authoritative and ‘objective’ attitude but, perhaps paralleling the processes of the viewer, gradually becomes involved in this family’s story and moves from recounting mere historical ‘facts’ to becoming interested in the many ‘wisps of narrative’ that make up the history of any country. For the first time in his filmmaking career, Schroeter adopts a chronological narrative structure, more easily digestible by a wider audience, but without ever abandoning his very idiosyncratic artistic vision which is displaced into the highly stylised and allegorical characterisation of minor characters such as Pupetta (doll), the particularly witch-like, heavily made-up factory owner who attempts to drive the young Vittoria into prostitution, or Palumbo the wealthy lecherous mamma’s boy and Christian Democrat who tries to lure young boys into his parlour with his giant fish tank. Schroeter won the 1979 German Film Prize for best direction for this remarkable film.

Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

With his next film, Palermo oder Wolfsburg (1980) Schroeter again returns to southern Italy. This film begins in the town of Palermo, Sicily where the film’s central figure, Nicola, is a young victim of Sicily’s high rate of unemployment. He decides to leave Palermo for Wolfsburg in search of employment. He joins the many other men from places like Italy, Greece and Turkey who became Germany’s large force of Guestworkers during the 1960s and 1970s. Along with Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1973) and Helma Sanders-Brahms’ Shirin’s Wedding (1976), Schroeter’s film becomes one of a handful of films to broach the subject of the difficulties foreigners faced in their attempts to integrate into German society without the support of the family and community structures they had left behind in their home countries. Like Regno di Napoli, Palermo oder Wolfsburg follows a chronological structure, but Schroeter’s innovation in this film is to divide the narrative into three distinct sections or acts, each having their own particular style. These three acts function like three episodes of a Passion play, a fact that is made more explicit by the images of a Passion play, which are inserted at various key moments throughout the film. The first episode takes place in Palermo. Nicola goes to visit various friends and relatives to tell them of his decision to go to Germany, and to receive their advice. In doing so he gathers together memories and impressions that he will take with him to Germany. This episode is shot and performed in a style reminiscent of Italian neo-realism. After the transitional interlude of his rail journey, Nicola arrives in Germany. After his arrival in Wolfsburg and following his initial disorientation, the owner of a Bar, an Italian woman, helps Nicola to find work and a place to stay. Nicola soon befriends a young German girl, but she uses him only to get back at her boyfriend. Hurt and angry at being used, Nicola stabs the boyfriend and one of his friends to death. This episode is filmed and performed with the mix of stylised realism and melodrama familiar from such films as Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. Nicola’s trial comprises the entire final episode of the film, which takes on a highly theatrical and disorienting character. Nicola looks on silently as the rather bizarre courtroom antics take place. While witnesses are being questioned, the judges pull faces and slump on the bench, the mothers of the victims perform strange repetitive gestures in the gallery, first they fight and then they kiss, while an interpreter simultaneously and continuously translates the proceedings between German and Sicilian. Faster montage sequences bring a disarray of memory-images to bear upon the courtroom sequence in which the defence argues that Germany and Sicily represent vastly different worlds that cannot be judged upon the same criteria. The film ends leaving the case unresolved, but leaving us with an image of an opening window through which to reflect upon the cultural divides that separate the world at large. Palermo oder Wolfsburg won the prestigious Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1980, notably the first Golden Bear ever awarded to a German director.

Tag der Idioten

With Tag der Idioten (1982), Schroeter perhaps draws upon his brief studies of psychology. The film centres around a passionate woman, Carole (played by the well-known French actor Carole Bouquet) who feels alienated and repressed by the highly institutionalised public and private spheres of Western society. Unable to extract any kind of emotional response from her reserved boyfriend, Carole seeks attention by falsely denouncing her neighbours as terrorists. With this detail Schroeter briefly touches upon the panic and paranoia that was brought about by the German government crackdown on terrorism at its height during 1977 and Carole’s subsequent institutionalisation in a mental asylum can be seen as an allegory for a society wishing to suppress radical activity of any sort. In Tag der Idioten Schroeter returns to a less linear narrative structure, more reminiscent of the episodic films of his second phase. He employs numerous hallucinatory sequences in order to convey the protagonist’s state of mind. Furthermore, much of the film’s meaning is delivered through Carole’s body, facial expressions and gestures rather than through dialogue, and the film’s montage serves to create spatial and temporal disorientation. Schroeter again won the German Film Prize for best direction for this film.

Der Rosenkönig

Like Tag der Idioten, Der Rosenkönig is another of Schroeter’s fictional films that proceeds by way of a disjunctive array of image and sound fragments, rather than as a fully-fledged narrative. Karsten Witte has said of this film: “Instead of a story, there are fragments. Instead of a narrative, this film is a ‘camera-poem’ for three bodies, three voices.” (7) Schroeter creates a constellation of images around the central figure of Albert (Mostèfa Djadjam), a gardener who is obsessed with cultivating the perfect rose. But this obsession becomes displaced when he captures a young man (Antonio Orlando) stealing the devotional offerings from the small chapel on his property. Albert keeps the man detained in his barn and comes every day to lovingly feed and tend him, all under the watchful and disapproving eye of his mother (played by Magdalena Montezuma). The film overflows with Christian references, and towards the end of the film the young man, who comes to resemble both Christ and Saint Sebastian, becomes a potent figure of homoeroticism, as Albert carefully grafts roses onto his body, sacrificing him through the process of attempting to create the romantic ideal of the beautiful perfected individual. This is the first time that Schroeter has dealt at such length with the subject of homosexuality. This was the last film Schroeter made with his long-time collaborator Magdalena Montezuma, who died shortly after the film was completed. Her weak and failing body brings an acute sense of mortality to the film.

To date, Schroeter has written or co-written most of his feature films. Malina is an exception, being based on the novel by the feminist Austrian author Ingeborg Bachmann and adapted for the screen by Elfriede Jelenik. Starring the well-known French actor Isabelle Huppert, the film centres upon a writer who finds herself unable to adequately express herself. Schroeter uses powerful imagery of mirrors and fire to convey the idea of an identity in disarray and crisis and creates a palpable sense of suffocation through the repetition of scenes involving the protagonist having to remind herself to breathe. “I must breath, I must breathe”, she says to herself at various points throughout the film. The novel is widely considered to be a modern classic of feminist literature. It is not surprising therefore, that reception of this film among critics was polarised. Feminists in particular complained that Schroeter had reduced a figure of feminist emancipation to a mere stereotype of an intellectual woman suffering a pathological disorder. (8) Much of this criticism fails, however, to approach the film through its cinematic elements. Through Elfriede Jelenik’s screenplay, Schroeter does not attempt to simply transpose the words on the page to the screen, but through camera, framing, editing and performance engages in a cinematic interpretation of the novel. Malina won the German Film Prize for best film in 1991.

Between 1990 and 2001, Schroeter made no feature films. During this time he made two documentaries (to be discussed shortly) but dedicated most of his time to directing theatre and opera. Deux (2001), once again featuring Isabelle Huppert in the lead role, marks Schroeter’s return to feature filmmaking. The film was premiered at the 2002 Director’s fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival and to date has received some impassioned reviews in the French press.

In addition to his feature films made during this third phase, Schroeter has made a number of documentary films. Schroeter constructs these films not as didactic or expository documentaries, but rather, as somewhat poetic collages of images and sounds around a particular event or figure. The first of these is La Répétition générale (1980), a film originally commissioned by ZDF as a short report on the World Theatre Festival in Nancy, France. Inspired by a number of the performers at the festival, the film grew into a beautiful 90-minute essay film. In particular he focuses upon the work of the German dancer Pina Bausch and her troupe from the Wuppertal Tanztheater, the Japanese butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno, and the American performance artist Pat Olesko. From the subject matter, which consists of a collage of various impressions of the festival such as rehearsals, performances, interviews, readings, conversations about love, death and theatre, and poetic interludes, Schroeter develops his very own form of the documentary film. Such films do not so much attempt to convey information about a subject, but rather collect together a vast array of fragments around a particular theme, which are meant to form constellations in the spectator’s mind. Schroeter uses strategies of image-music montage and repetition that he had developed in his films of the second phase.

All of Schroeter’s documentaries take a similar form, which he has used not only for theatrical subjects, such as Ariane Mnouchkine and her theatre troupe ‘Théâtre du Soleil’ in A la recherche du soleil. Sur Ariane Mnouchkine (1986-87), but also as an effective form of social and political critique. He achieves this with both Der lachende Stern (1983) which takes the inaugural Manila International Film Festival as a starting point for a foray into various layers of the social and political history of The Philippines, and De l’Argentine (1983-85) which similarly delves into the layers of Argentinian history, culture and politics. In the latter film, Schroeter also interleaves various fictional episodes between the various documentary layers.

Marianne Hoppe and Schroeter, Die Königin

Like his earliest 8mm films, which focussed upon images of the opera diva Maria Callas, with Poussières d’amour Schroeter returns once again to the cult of the diva, but this time they are living, breathing, singing and ageing divas. Schroeter takes as his point of departure for this film a question posed by Roland Barthes in a short essay entitled “The Romantic Song.” (9) The question asks: how do singers find emotion in their voices? In order to attempt to answer this question Schroeter invited some of his most admired opera singers, young and old, to a ruined 13th century abbey in France to rehearse an aria and to talk about singing, love and relationships. Schroeter comes closest to answering his opening question through the bodies of three ageing divas: Martha Mödl, Rita Gorr, and Anita Cerquetti, the latter of whom gave up singing at the height of her career. In the film, her entire body seems to listen as she mimes to some of her most famous recordings, including the “Casta Diva” aria from Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Norma, which continues on the soundtrack long after her image has faded from the screen at the conclusion of the film. In his most recent documentary, Die Königin (2000), about the theatrical life of the veteran German actress Marianne Hoppe, Schroeter continues his engagement with the ageing performing body.

The films of Werner Schroeter form a vast and diverse body of work through which he has, fulfilling Fassbinder’s 1979 premonition, managed to secure for himself a certainly eccentric but pivotal place in the history of cinema.

Poussiéres d'amour. Schroeter (right)

Filmography

The filmography contains the following information about the films where known:

Screenplay (S), Cinematography (C), Editor (E), Producer (P), Principle actors or subjects if a documentary (A), film format and running time.

Verona (1967) C & E: Werner Schroeter, 8mm, B&W, 10 min

Callas Walking Lucia (1968) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, 8mm, B&W, 3 min

Callas Text mit Doppelbeleuchtung (1968) C & E: Werner Schroeter, 8mm, B&W, 5 min

Maria Callas Porträt (1968) C & E: Werner Schroeter, A: photos of Maria Callas, 8mm, colour and B&W, 17 min

Mona Lisa (1968) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, A: photos of Maria Callas and a reproduction of the Mona Lisa, 8mm, colour and B&W, 35 min

Maria Callas Singt 1957 Rezitativ und Arie der Elvira aus Ernani 1844 von Guiseppe Verdi (1968) C & E: Werner Schroeter, 8mm, B&W, 15 min

Übungen mit Darstellern (1968) Consists of nine unedited rolls. Camera is attributed to Schroeter for all rolls except rolls 6 and 3. A: Magdalena Montezuma, Werner Schroeter, Steven Adamczewski, Ica Vilander, Carla Aulaulu, all 8mm, four rolls are colour, five are B&W, each has a running time of 3 min.

La morte d’Isotta (1968) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, A: Rita & Joachim Bauer, Marlene (Knut) Koch, Werner Schroeter, Truùla Bartok, 8mm, colour, 50 min

Himmel Hoch (1968) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, A: Steven Adamczewski, Rita & Joachim Bauer, 8mm, B & W, 12 min

Paula— ‘je reviens’ (1968) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, A: Heidi Lorenzo, Suzanne Sheed, Marlene (Knut) Koch, Truùla Bartok, Werner Schroeter, 8mm, colour, 35 min

Grotesk—Burlesk—Pittoresk (1968) Co-directed with Rosa von Praunheim, S & C: Werner Schroeter and Rosa von Praunheim, A: Magdalena Montezuma, Rosa von Praunheim, 8mm, colour & B&W, duration according to Wim Wenders is 60 min, according to other sources, 40 min

Faces (1968) S: Werner Schroeter, C: Possibly Rosa von Praunheim, E: Werner Schroeter, A: Heidi Lorenzo, Knut Koch, 8mm, B&W, ca 20 min. This film is reported to be a study for Aggressionen (1968).

Aggressionen (1968) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, A: Heidi Lorenzo, Knut Koch, 16mm, B&W, 22.5 min

Neurasia (1968) S: C & E: Werner Schroeter, A: Carla Aulaulu, Magdalena Montezuma, Rita Bauer, Steven Adamczewski, 16mm, B&W, 41 min

Virginia’s Death (1968) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, A: Magdalena Montezuma, Heidi Lorenzo, Carla Aulaulu, Steven Adamczewski, 16mm, B&W, 9 min. Unreleased.

Argila (1968) S, C, E & P: Werner Schroeter, A: Gisela Trowe, Magdalena Montezuma, Carla Aulaulu, Sigurd Salto, 16mm, made to be shown as a double projection, one roll each of colour and B&W, 36 min.

Eika Katappa (1969) S, & E: Werner Schroeter, C: Werner Schroeter and Robert van Ackeren for part eight. P: Werner Schroeter, A: Magdalena Montezuma, Gisela Trowe, Carla Aulaulu, Rita & Joachim Bauer, Ingo & Sigurd Salto, Rosa von Praunheim, 16mm, colour and B&W, 144 min

Nicaragua (1969) S: Werner Schroeter. C: Robert van Ackeren, P: Peter Berling, A: Carla Aulaulu, Magdalena Montezuma, Gavin Campbell, 16mm, B&W, ca. 80 min

Der Bomberpilot (1970) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter. P: Werner Schroeter, ZDF, A: Magdalena Montezuma, Carla Aulaulu, Mascha Elm, 16mm, colour, 65 min

Angila (1970) S: Werner Schroeter. C: Jörg Schmidt-Reichwein, P: Atlantis Film, A: Magdalena Montezuma, Carla Aulaulu, Mascha Elm-Rabben, 16mm, colour. Unreleased.

Salome (1971) S: Werner Schroeter, C: Robert van Ackeren, E: Ila von Hasperg, P: Ifage, ZDF, A: Mascha Elm Rabben, Magdalena Montezuma, Ellen Umlauf, Thomas von Keyserling, 16mm, colour, 81 min

Macbeth (1971) S: Werner Schroeter, C: Horst Thürling, P: Hessischer Rundfunk, A: Annette Tirier, Susi, Stefan von Haugk, Sigurd Salto, Magdalena Montezuma, video, colour, 60 min

Funkausstellung 1971 – Hitparade (1971) Television programme which was never broadcast. According to Anne Even of ZDF no copies survive.

Der Tod der Maria Malibran (The Death of Maria Malibran) (1971) S & C: Werner Schroeter, E: Werner Schroeter and Ila von Hasperg, P: Werner Schroeter, ZDF, A: Magdalena Montezuma, Christine Kaufmann, Candy Darling, Manuela Riva, Ingrid Caven, 16mm, colour, 104 min

Willow Springs (1972-73) S: & C: Werner Schroeter, E: Werner Schroeter and Ila von Hasperg, P: Werner Schroeter, ZDF, A: Magdalena Montezuma, Christine Kaufmann, Ila von Hasperg, Michael O’Daniels, 16mm, colour, 78 min

Der schwarze Engel (The Black Angel) (1973-74) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, P: Werner Schroeter, ZDF, A: Ellen Umlauf, Magdalena Montezuma,16mm, colour, 71 min

Johannas Traum (1971-75) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, 16mm, colour, 30 min. Put together with material from Der Tod der Maria Malibran.

Flocons d’or (Goldflocken, Goldflakes) (1973-76) S: Werner Schroeter, Carlos Clarens, C: Werner Schroeter, E: Werner Schroeter, Ila von Hasperg, Cécile Decugis, P: Les Films du Losange, A: Magdalena Montezuma, Bulle Ogier, Andréa Ferrol, Christine Kaufmann, Ellen Umlauf, Ila von Hasperg, 16mm, colour, 163 min

Regno di Napoli (Neapolitanischer Geschwister, Kingdom of Naples) (1978) S: Werner Schroeter, Wolf Wondraschek, C: Thomas Mauch, E: Werner Schroeter and Ursula West, P: Dieter Geissler, ZDF, P.B.C. A: Romeo Giro, Antonio Orlando, Maria Antonietta Riegel, Cristina Donadio, 35mm, colour, 130 min

Palermo oder Wolfsburg (1980) S: Werner Schroeter, Giusseppe Fava, C: Thomas Mauch, E: Werner Schroeter and Ursula West, P: Thomas Mauch Film Production, Artico Film, Eric Franck, A: Nicola Zarbo, Otto Sander, Ida di Benedetto, Magdalena Montezuma, Antonio Orlando, 35mm, colour, 175 min

Weisse Reise (1980) S, C & E: Werner Schroeter, P: Eric Franck, Werner Schroeter, A: Harald Vogl, Jim Auwae, Margareth Clémenti, 16mm, colour, 52 min

La Répétition générale (Die Generalprobe, Dress Rehearsal) (1980) S: Werner Schroeter, Colette Godard, C: Franz Weich, E: Catherine Brasier and Jean-Marc Martinez, P: Laura-Film, Thomas Schüli, Munich, ZDF, A: Mostéfa Djadjam, Pina Bausch, Pat Olesko, Reinhild Hofmann, Kazuo Ohno, Sankai Juku et.al., 16mm, colour, 90 min

Das Libeskonzil (The Council of Love) (1981) S: Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, Roberto Lerici, Horst Alexander, based on a play by Oskar Panizza, C: Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein, E: Catherine Brasier and Olivier Morel, P: Saskia Filmproduktion, Trio Film, A: Antonio Salines, Magdalena Montezuma, et.al., 35mm, colour, 96 min

Tag der Idioten (Day of the Idiots) (1982) S: Werner Schroeter, Dana Horakova, C: Ivan Slapeta, E: Catherine Brasier and Moune Barius, P: Oko-Film, Karel Dirka, BR., A: Carole Bouquet, Ida di Benedetto, Ingrid Caven, Christine Kaufmann, Magdalena Montezuma, 35mm, colour, 107 min

Der lachende Stern (The Smiling Star) (1983) S: Werner Schroeter, C: Werner Schroeter, E: Werner Schroeter and Christel Orthmann, P: Peter Kern. 16mm, colour, 110 min

De l’Argentine (Zum Beispiel Argentina , For Example Argentina) (1983-85) S: Werner Schroeter, C: Werner Schroeter and Carlos Bernardo Wajsman, E: Catherine Brasier and Claudio Martinez, P: Out One FR3/Ministère de la culture, 16mm, colour, 92 min

A la recherche du soleil. Sur Ariane Mnouchkine (In search of the sun. About Ariane Mnouchkine (1986-87)

Der Rosenkönig (The Rose King) (1984-86) S: Werner Schroeter, C: Elfi Mikesch, E: Juliane Lorenz, P: Paolo Branco, Udo Heiland Filmproduktion, A: Magdalena Montezuma, Antonio Orlando, Mostéfa Djadjam, 35mm, colour, 100 min

Malina (1990) S: Elfriede Jelinek, C: Elfi Mikesch, E: Juliane Lorenz, P: Thomas & Peter Kuchenreuther, Kuchenreuther Film-Produktion, A: Isabelle Huppert, Can Togay, Mathieu Carriere, 35mm, colour, 120 min

Poussières d’amour (Abfallprodukte der Liebe, Love’s Debris) (1996) S: Werner Schroeter/Claire Alby, C: Elfi Mikesch, E: Juliane Lorenz, P: Christoph Meyer-Weil, Schlemmer Film, A: Anita Cerquetti, Martha Mödl, Rita Gorr, Carole Bouquet, Isabelle Huppert et.al., 35mm, colour, 120 min

Die Königin: Marianne Hoppe (The Queen) (2000) S: Werner Schroeter/ Monika Klepper, Filmproduktion Bremen, C: Thomas Pleinert/Alexandra Kordes, E: Flo Köhler, P: Elke Peters, MIRA, A: Marianne Hoppe, 35mm, colour & B&W, 101 min

Deux (Two) (2002) S: Werner Schroeter/Cédric Anger, C: Elfi Mikesch, E: Julianne Lorenz, P: Paulo Branco, Gemini/Road Movies/France 2, A: Isabelle Huppert, Bulle Ogier, Manuel Blanc, Arielle Dombasle, Annika Kuhl, Robinson Stévenin, Phillippe Reuter, Pascal Bongard, Jean-Francois Stévenin, 35mm, colour, 121 min

Select Bibliography

Books:

Gérard Courant, (ed.), Werner Schroeter, Paris, Goethe-Institut, Cinémathèque Française, 1982

Sabine Dhein, Werner Schroeter, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1991

Peter W. Jansen & Wolfram Schütte (eds.), Werner Schroeter, Munich, Carl Hanser Verlag, 1980

Michelle Langford, Allegorical Images: Tableau, Time and Gesture in the Cinema of Werner Schroeter, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Sydney, August, 2000

Eva M. J. Schmid & Frank Scurla (eds.), Werner Schroeter, Filme 1968-1970, Recklinghausen, 1971

Ulrike Sieglohr, Imaginary Identities in Werner Schroeter’s Cinema: An Institutional, Theoretical and Cultural Investigation, unpublished PhD thesis, University of East Anglia, September, 1994

Journal Articles, Book Chapters and Interviews:

Joris Bayne, “Werner Schroeter: Le Pilleur d’epaves”, ecran, 23 March, 1974

Jan Berg, “Realität und Pathos: Palermo oder Wolfsburg von Werner Schroeter”, Filmkritik, n. 1, 1980

Eric Bonse & Wolf Kühr, “Anarchische Modelle”, Interview with W. Schroeter, Die Woche, 9 June, 1994

Barbara Bronnen and Corinna Brocher, Die Filmemacher. Zur neuen deutschen Produktion nach Oberhausen, Munich, C. Bertelsmann 1973

Peter Buchka, “Der Kampf der Armen: Werner Schroeters neuer Film Neapolitanische Geschwister”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 8 June, 1978

Peter Buchka, “Die Schönheit des Todes”, Süddeutscher Zeitung, 27 February, 1987

Christina Bylow, “Außerhalb der Rolle spricht sie nicht. Werner Schroeter dreht mit Marianne Hoppe in Babelsberg”, Berliner Zeitung, 26 July, 1999

Alain Carbonnier & Noël Simsolo, “Rencontre avec Werner Schroeter”, Cinéma, n. 303, March 1984

Timothy Corrigan, “Schroeter’s Willow Springs and the Excesses of History”, New German Film: The Displaced Image, revised edition, Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994

Timothy Corrigan, “Werner Schroeter’s Operatic Cinema”, Discourse, n. 3, Spring 1981

Timothy Corrigan, “On the Edge of History: The Radiant Spectacle of Werner Schroeter”, Film Quarterly, n. 37, Summer 1984

Gérard Courant, “Le Regne de Naples: De la mort et du désir”, Cinema, n. 253 (January, 1980).

Gérard Courant, “Propos rompus par Werner Schroeter”, Cahiers du Cinéma, n. 307, January 1980

Gérard Courant, “Flocons d’or: Un ouragan d’emotions”, Cinema, n. 258, 1980

Gérard Courant, “Entretien avec exilé de l’interieur qu’est devenu Werner Schroeter”, Cinéma, n. 267, March 1981

Serge Daney, “Schroeter et Naples”, Cahiers du cinéma, n. 307, January 1980

Bernard J. Dotzler, “Kein letztes Wort zu Medea: Exzess und Kalkul, Mythos und Technik”, Lili: Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, vol.19, n. 76, 1989

Rainer Werner Fassbinder, “Chin-up, Handstand, Salto Mortale—Firm Footing: On the Film Director Werner Schroeter, Who Achieved What Few Achieve, with Kingdom of Naples” in Michael Töteberg and Leo A. Lensing (eds.), The Anarchy of the Imagination: Interviews, Essays, Notes, trans. Krishna Winston, Baltimore & London, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. Originally published in Frankfurter Rundschau, 24 February, 1979.

Sebastian Feldmann, “Die Sünden wider das Fleisch. Anmerkungen zu Werner Schroeter”, Film-Korrespondenz, n. 12, December 1973, & n. 1 January 1974

Sebastian Feldmann, “Die Rosen und die Schlumpis”, Rheinische Post, 12 November, 1986

Sebastian Feldmann, “Von Rosen durchbohrt”, Rheinische Post, 8 April, 1987

Sebastian Feldmann, “Eine Collage aus Poesie und Politik”, 3 July, 1987

Michel Foucault, “Sade, ein Sergeant des Sex: Interview mit Gérard Dupont” in Von der Freundschaft: Michel Foucault in Gespräch, trans. Marianne Karbe & Walter Seitter, Berlin, Merve Verlag, 1985

Michel Foucault, “Conversation avec Werner Schroeter”, in Daniel Defert & François Ewald (eds.), Michel Foucault: Dits et écrits 1954-1988, vol. IV, Paris: Gallimard, 1994

Colette Godard, “Super-star underground de Werner Schroeter”, Le Monde, 24 January 1974

Friede Grafe, “Schauplatz für Sprache: Neurasia”, Filmkritik, n. 3, 1970

Jacques Grant & Jean-Yves Dubath, “Entretien avec Werner Schroeter”, Cinématographe, n. 55, March 1980

Alan Greenberg, “Notes on Some European Directors”, American Film, vol. 3, n. 1, October 1977

Ulrich Gregor, “Für Neapel”, Die Zeit, n. 24, 1978

Kai Hoffmann, “Kaleidoskop: Werner Schroeters Zum Beispiel Argentinien”, Frankfurter Rundschau, 8 July, 1986

Gary Indiana, “Indiana in Berlin at the Film Festspiel ’81”, Artforum, n. 19, Summer 1981

Gary Indiana, “Scattered Pictures: The Movies of Werner Schroeter”, Artforum, n. 20, March 1982

Peter Jansen, “Neapolitanische Geschwister”, Kirche und Film, n. 2, February, 1979

Urs Jeny, “Für einen grausamen Gott: Der Bomberpilot und Salome von Werner Schroeter”, Filmkritik, n. 177, September 1971

Urs Jeny, “Lästerliche Mysterien”, Der Spiegel, n. 14, (1982)

Roland Keller, “Freiheit, die ich meine: Werner Schroeter korregiert Klischees und zerschlägt Feindbilder”, Kino, n. 4, 1980

Raimund B. Kern, “Neapolitanische Geschwister”, Filmdienst, n. 8, 18 April, 1979

Paul B. Kleiser, “Willow Springs Gespräch mit Magdalena Montezuma und Werner Schroeter”, Filmkritik, n. 9, September 1973

Werner Kleiß, “Gespräch mit Rosa von Praunheim und Werner Schroeter”, Film, n. 11, November 1969

Silvia Kolbowski, “Out of Cold Blood—New Argentine Films”, Afterimage, vol. 14, Summer 1986

Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, “Werner Schroeter” in Hans Michael Bock (ed.), CineGraph: Lexikon zum deutschsprachigen Film, Munich, edition text + kritik, 1984

Yann Lardeau, “Werner Schroeter cinéaste de la passion”, Cahiers du cinéma, n. 333, March 1982

Emanuel Levy, “Love’s Debris”, Variety, November 11-17, 1996

Nicos Ligouris, “Körper/Schrift/Übertretung: Über die Fazination des Grenzlosen bei W. Schroeter”, Synchronos Kinimatographos, n. 5, March/April, 1975

Joël Magny, “Le Chant des Disparus”, (review of De l’Argentine), Cahiers du cinéma, n. 388, October 1986

Alfred Nemeczezk, “Geniestüke eines Pechvogels”, Stern, n. 12, 13 March 1980

Thomas Neuhauser, “Glanz des Theaters. Auf der Suche nach der Sonne”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15 January, 1987

Karena Niehoff, “Unnötige Aufregung: Werner Schroeters Panizza-Verfilmung Libeskonzil”, Der Tagesspiegel, 12 March, 1982

Karena Niehoff, “Die zerstörte Puppe: zu Werner Schroeters Film Tag der Idioten”, Der Tagesspiegel, 27 March, 1982

Denis Offroy, “Carmelo Bene, Werner Schroeter, Hans Syberberg”, Cinématographe, n. 7, April/May 1974

Enno Patalas, “Jenseits des Jungen Deutschen Films”, Filmkritik, n. 11 November 1969

Hans Günter Pflaum, “Geheimnisse des Feuers. Werner Schroeters kongeniale Bachmann-Verfilmung Malina”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, n. 14, 17 January, 1991

Ekkehard Pluta, “Das denaturierte Gesamtkunstwerk. Der Filmmacher Werner Schroeter”, Medium, n. 10, October 1974

Rosa von Praunheim, “Mit herzlichen Gruß an Champagner Schroeter”, Filmkritik, vol. 23 n. 1, 1979

Dorothee Römhild, “Von kritischer Selbstreflexion zur stereotypen Frauendarstellung: Ingeborg Bachmans Roman Malina und seine filmische Rezeption”, The Germanic Review, v LXVIII, n. 4, Fall 1993

Ruth Rybarski, “Bürgerlicher Schund”, Profil, n. 27, 2 July, 1990

Ruth Rybarski, “Die Dinge, die man von ihr weiß”, Profil, n. 2, 7 January, 1991

Martin Schaub, “Bilderarbeit”, Cinema, n.3, 1976

Eva M.J. Schmid, “Werner Schroeter oder Die heiligsten Güter”, Kirche und Film, n. 7, July 1972

Eckhart Schmidt, “Sehnsucht, das sagt sich so leicht, und das lebt sich so schwer”, (interview with W. Schroeter), Süddeutsche Zeitung, n.177, 3/4 August 1974

Werner Schroeter, “Die Matrosen dieser Welt”, Filmkritik, vol. 6, n. 186, 1972

Werner Schroeter, “Eine Tante wie eine Arie. Werner Schroeter über von Praunheim: Sex und Karriere”, Der Spiegel, 15 November, 1976

Werner Schroeter, “Der Herztod der Primadonna”, Der Spiegel, n. 40, 1977

Werner Schroeter, “Showdown in Manila”, Tip, n. 14, 1983

Werner Schroeter, “Supplement: Contribution to the 400th issue”, Cahiers du cinéma, n. 400, Special edition edited by Wim Wenders, October 1987

Wolfram Schütte, “Als der Fremde blicke ich auf dieses Land: Werner Schroeter und sein Film Palermo oder Wolfsburg”, Frankfurter Rundschau, n. 70, 22 March, 1980

Wolfram Schütte, “Ich glaube nicht an die Virtuosität, sondern an die Intensität in der Kunst”, Frankfurter Rundschau (Easter 1982).

Wolfram Schütte, “Kopfsymphonie über Wahnsinn”, Frankfurter Rundschau, 8 April, 1982

Wolfram Schütte (ed.), “Werner Schroeter”, Munich, Goethe Institut, 1988

Frank Scurla, “Werner Schroeter—ein umstrittener Regisseur”, Jugend Film Fernsehen, n. 4, 1971

Frank Scurla, “Filmanalysen: Eika Katappa”, Jungend Film Fernsehen, n. 5-6, 1971

Ulrike Sieglohr, “Excess and Yearning: The Operatic in Werner Schroeter’s Cinema” in Jeremy Tambling (ed.), A Night in at the Opera: Media Representations of Opera, London, John Libbey & The Arts Council of England, 1994

Frederic Strauss, “Scènes de la passion (Making Malina)”, Cahiers du cinéma, n. 435, September 1990

Gaston Talon, “Dossier auteur. Werner Schroeter”, Cinéma, n. 185, March 1974

Thomas Thieringer, “Liebe und Krieg”, Kirche und Rundfunk, n. 99, 17 December, 1980

Felix Tretter, “Tag der Idioten-psychiatrische Patienten als Metapher”, Deutsches Ärsteblatt-Ärztliche Mitteilungen, vol.79, n. 27, 9 July, 1982

Holger Twele, “Tag der Idioten”, Filmbeobachter, n. 6, 1982

Franz Ulrich, “Palermo oder Wolfsburg”, Zoom, n. 19, 1980

Reinhard Weingierek, “Ballade von der entrükten Herrin”, Die Welt, 21 February, 2000

Wim Wenders, “Filme von Werner Schroeter”, Filmkritik, n. 5, May 1969

Wilfried Wiegand, “Sinnlose Rituale”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 November 1969

Wilfried Wiegand, “Werner Schroeters Fernsehfilm Neapolitanische Geschwister”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 10 June, 1978

Wilfried Wiegand, “Werner Schroeter”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin, n. 142, 19 November, 1982

Karsten Witte, “Zum Andenken eines Engels Über Palermo oder Wolfsburg”, Die Zeit, n. 13, 12 March, 1980

K.W. (Karsten Witte?), “Auf der Suche nach der Sonne. Werner Schroeter beobachtet Ariane Mnouchkine und ihr Theatre”, Frankfurter Rundschau, 13 January, 1987

K.W. (Karsten Witte?), “So viele Lieder”, Die Zeit, 23 January, 1987

K.W. (Karsten Witte?), “Versteckte Zeichen und Signale: Werner Schroeter’s Filme”, Frankfurter Rundschau, 5 January, 1991

Cordula Zytur, “Die Monroe selbdritt: Werner Schroeter Willow Springs, Kamerafilm,” FUNK-Korrespondenz, n. 15, 11 April, 1973


Web Resources

Compiled by author and Albert Fung

Der Rosenkönig

Bright Lights Film Journal
Gary Morris, “Love’s Debris”, Bright Lights Film Journal

Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes

Several pages on Schroeter can be found if you do a search.

Endnotes

  1. Thomas Elsaesser, New German Cinema, New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, 1989, p. 204
  2. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, “Chin-up, Handstand, Salto Mortale—Firm Footing: On the Film Director Werner Schroeter, Who Achieved What Few Achieve, with Kingdom of Naples” in Michael Töteberg and Leo A. Lensing (eds.), The Anarchy of the Imagination: Interviews, Essays, Notes, trans. Krishna Winston, Baltimore & London, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992, p. 101. Fassbinder’s article was first published in Frankfurter Rundschau, 24 February, 1979.
  3. I shall restrict myself to a discussion of Schroeter’s films. For a more detailed discussion of Schroeter’s work in theatre see Sabina Dhein, Werner Schroeter, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1991.
  4. Sebastian Feldmann in Jansen & Schütte (eds.), Werner Schroeter, Munich, Carl Hanser, 1980, p. 168
  5. Margarete & Thomas Mitscherlich, The Inability to Mourn: Principles of Collective Behaviour, New York, Grove Press, 1975. Their book was first published in Germany in 1967.
  6. Ulrike Sieglohr, Imaginary Identities in Werner Schroeter’s Cinema: An Institutional, Theoretical and Cultural Investigation, unpublished PhD thesis University of East Anglia, September, 1994, p. 275. Emphasis added.
  7. Karsten Witte, “So viele Lieder”, Die Zeit, 23 January, 1987, p. 51
  8. For a summary of the various perspectives see Dorothee Römhild, “Von kritischer Selbstreflexion zur stereotypen Frauendarstellung: Ingeborg Bachmanns Roman Malina und seine filmische Rezeption”, The Germanic Review, vol. LXVIII, n. 4, Fall, 1993. The film was much more warmly received in France where the novel was less widely known. See for example: Frederic Strauss, “Scènes de la passion (Making Malina)”, Cahiers du cinéma, n. 435, September 1990. This is possibly also due to the presence of Isabelle Huppert in the leading role.
  9. Roland Barthes, “The Romantic Song”, Responsibility of Forms, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1986