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Phooey, Rosa (TV) More at IMDbPro »Pfui, Rosa! (original title)

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A real treat for Von Praunheim fans

Author: Gonzalo Melendez (gonz30) from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
24 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This documentary is a treat for Rosa von Praunheim fans, and a good introduction to those not familiar with him, but interested in the life and times of the die-hard European "enfant terrible" of cinema.

Rosa has remained a rebel, even now past age 60 (his 60th birthday being the doc's main theme). This attachment to his roots and stubborn intransigence on "professional advancement to the mainstream" contrast sharply to other European ex-underground, ex-trash and love-to-shock film directors such as Almodóvar, the best example of what Von Praunheim could have been, or still could be. The two also share an uncanny amount of common traits, personally and professionally.

Where as Almodóvar went mainstream or "matured," Rosa has remained the militant rebel, still using shock value to make a difference and get points across which he thinks need to be stressed. Rosa has made good mainstream films like THE EINSTEIN OF SEX, and could apparently have gone in that direction, but is apparently adamant about continuing with nouveau trash films with ever more shock value, and documentaries.

I just don't mean this one, but many in the last decade about other eccentric German personalities - the ageless East German transsexual Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, the already mentioned EINSTEIN OF SEX - Magnus Hirschfeld, the outrageous Berlin cabaret performers (also frequent cast members in Rosa's films) in QUEENS DON'T LIE, and last but definitely NOT least, R. Werner Fassbinder in Rosa's recent exposé-documentary FOR ME, THERE'S NO ONE LIKE FASSBINDER.

This documentary is not by any means his first autobiographical one. First, all his films are somewhat autobiographical. But, in the last seven years, he has made three autobiographical films, NEUROSIA (50 years of perversion) - I think the best of the lot, QUEENS DON'T LIE - which can be argued is more autobiographical about his closest collaborators, but nevertheless Rosa is at the center, and now for his 60th birthday - this film.

Actually, a 70 minute TV program for the very respectable WDR (West German TV Network) and ARTE (the Franco-German "artsy" cable channel), the documentary repeats many of the scenes, film clips, and interviews in NEUROSIA and QUEENS DON'T LIE. Apparently, there is great interest and insatiable thirst for info about Rosa's life when so many similar documentaries are made, financed by large prestigious studios, and released worldwide.

Please keep in mind I'm in Brazil, and the film has already been shown here a couple of times, a month or two after its first showing! His last two documentaries were also shown here shortly after their premiere. His EINSTEIN OF SEX was shown here in October of 1999 months before its official premiere. And not at a gay festival, but at the straight and "serious" S. Paulo International Film Festival - and was among the ten most attended and highest rated films of the 360 film + Fest. It was later released here theatrically, in video, and in cable TV, where the 1999 film still plays occasionally by the way.

So, this latest very self indulgent auto biopic puts all of Rosa's life together for us (once again). For his fans, it's mostly all "déjà vu", but worth seeing. The biggest novelty is the dominating presence of his mother and of Rosa's on and off lover/companion for 25+ years, who reveal personal and family details unknown until now.

I won't specify, lest they be "spoilers," get me in trouble, and ruin the surprise for you. But, I hope you enjoy it knowing before hand the film is yet another very self-indulgent film, filled with Rosa's "grandiosity" and eccentricity, full of repetitive material if you've seen his documentaries in the last 7 or 8 years. I guess we can expect another one when he turns 65!

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