On a film set there are two things missing, the film material and the director. So the actors and actresses as well as the crew try to make the best out of the situation. When the director ... See full summary »
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
The young but travelled Ana arrives in a manor in the countryside of Spain to work as nanny of three girls and finds a dysfunctional family: the matriarch is a sick old woman obsessed by ... See full summary »
Fernando Fernán Gómez,
José María Prada
Magdalena Montezuma, star of the film, muse of Werner Schroeter, died 14 days after the filming in Portugal wrapped in 1984. The film is a requiem for her, everyone involved knew she was dying from cancer (discovered in 1982), and she apparently had wanted to die on set. The only professional review I can find from the time slaps it with the emperor's new clothes stamp, seemingly unaware of any context, and whilst Schroeter makes few concessions to the critics, it is actually a fantastic film in my view. It has the dramatic feel of opera, and seems to be about art, religion, lust and love all being dead ends, or at least they were for the characters. There is a quotation of a fragment of Poe's poem City in The Sea, which is about a city that death rules over sinking and being replaced by Hell. It feels very apt up against the creepy rose farm by the sea full of ghastly beauty and fatalistic characters. Only a letter addressed to a location in Portugal provides any clue to the location being in Europe as opposed to Brazil, or Atlantis. Unlike the poem, it's clear that life will continue after the events end, as shown by the band of local children. But this is not an optimistic note as the children seem ignorant and cruel. With some graphic lingering gore, full frontal nudity, scenes of perverse animal cruelty, and with scant regard for the casual viewer, The Rose King is not for everybody, and has pretty much sunk without trace. I'll remember it for its sporadic ecstasies of light, and for its incredible emotional darknesses. The movie left me in pleasant lassitude as do many films which handle depression well.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?