Werner Schroeter's movies are known to be difficult to approach, at least if one comes from the background of literature-based film theory and searches for subject-predicate structures, topic-comment distribution or the connection of stereotypes. All these strategies have in common that they are based on 2-valued logic which imitates the physical schema of cause and effect in language. Although many film makers have tried to replace these rationalist structures by associative structures, the material has been proved rather stubborn, and we are today still heaven-wide distant from even the basics of a theory of associations which goes beyond the rather primitive, behavior- based fundamentals of the psychology of the early 20st century.
However, as Schroeter continues to prove, it is well possible to develop whole narrative structures which are not based on rationalist preconditions. An important procedure in "Der Rosenkönig" (1986) is the use of metaphor and ritual and to create a semiotic-based double world, starting from Pre-Illumination concepts. While surrealism, as the term correctly predicts, starts with reality which is transcended (by usually reality-based methods), the semiotic worlds of Schroeter are not found in the reality of objects, but, in the opposite, the reality of objects are found in the semiotics of associative systems. Not the object and its reality are primordial, but the sign and it thematics. If somebody would have the capacity to extract a metaphysics of how Schroeter actually creates (and not depicts) reality, we would have a theory of a new world that would deserve its name. A world in which the word is substituted by a metaphor and the objective acts are substituted by rituals. (Needlees to say that in the letter device Schroeter goes way beyond Pasolini whose later work may have been Inspiratory for "Der Rosenkönig" as the Rose-King himself plays one of the victims in Pasolini's "Salo".)
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