Callas and Werner Schroeter

Werner Schroeter, the régisseur whose films often celebrated Maria Callas, died earlier this month in Kassel, Germany.

Michelle Langford writes in a beautiful overview of Schroeter’s work:
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’s 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.
Beyond these early films, Callas haunts much of Schroeter’s work, which returns incessantly to themes of mortality, theatricality in its many guises, consuming quests for beauty, and “the cult of the diva.”

The clip shows a television tribute to Schroeter.

The Schwules Museum in Berlin has an exhibit devoted to Schroeter’s work, scheduled to run through the end of June. (I hope to see that exhibit, and I ask my kind readers please to send prayers, good vibes, or just happy thoughts to help my trip come about!)

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