Daniel Schmid, a post-modern director of movies, theatre and opera, was a colleague of Fassbinder and many of his films evince similar concerns and techniques. This was his highly experimental first film. On one night every year, the servants of an elaborate château are given their turn to be masters, while the masters become servants. Schmid employs a daring, if absurd, formal convention as a metaphor for the servants' status, by using slow motion to reflect the degree of their subjugation. At the opening of the film, they are still toiling at their regular domestic duties, shown in extreme slo-mo. As they begin to exercise more power, the pace gradually picks up, and so forth. Added to this, the sets and colours are lushly stylized, the acting almost mummified, and periodically a character presents an entire operatic aria as if it were a natural means of expression. Jaw-dropping, to say the least. His next movie, La Paloma, continued the absurdly melodramatic stylization, but dropped the slow motion technique.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?