Required viewing for fans of Ludwig II and Richard Wagner
Hans Jürgen Syberberg is best known for his film of Wagner's opera 'Parsifal', a film that I did not like at all. I call myself a Wagnerian and found his cinematic attempt to film that great masterpiece pretty much of a flop. I avoided Syberberg for years and years after that until Facets released his early films 'Our Hitler' and this one entitled 'Ludwig: Requiem for a Virgin King' fairly recently.
I loved this film of Luwig. It helped a great deal that I am very familiar with his life's story and the history of Germany in the 19th century. It was also extremely helpful that I am very familiar with the operas of Richard Wagner. The surreal and often absurd tone of the film falls into place in my head because I've read a lot about these things. The cumulative effect is extremely moving though a tad mawkish at the very end, in the old German manner.
For film buffs who have no experience or pre-knowledge of the people and historical events depicted here this film will be a great challenge. The best approach is simply to let the images and, especially, the text wash over you and sink in over time. It might even inspire people to read more about Ludwig and listen to Wagner's operas. I hope so.
For the casual film goer Syberberg's masterpiece is a non-starter. But for the adventurous and mentally active film buff it is highly recommended. It is required viewing for all Wagnerians and Ludwig-ites.
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