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Among Schlingensief's deliberately ugly and offending films, this stands out as unexpectedly beautiful - although it's a raw kind of beauty, reminiscent of Derek Jarman's visual poems "Last of England" or "The Garden". Much of the images are strongly processed, turning visuals into a grainy mess of colors; the sound track is coherent with that, accompanying tender love scenes with industrial noise - to great effect. Still, there are moments of intense beauty, as The Hero walks across a misty meadow in the early morning, or the shots of a fishing ship on a frozen seashore.
There is no real plot here, rather a series of scenes and images that map an unconsciousness in which saving and destructive forces are continually struggling, expressed in scenes and characters of a mythological quality. The destructive forces are embodied by Udo Kier's character, who sometimes appears as a restrained nobleman, sometimes as a soil-eating demon with bulging eyes. The object of the struggle seems to be love, embodied by Tilda Swinton (in a rather subdued performance), who is threatened by Kier and abducted by witches. A point to be made out of all this bursting, confusing imagery is, that you should not try to destroy the evil forces inside you but rather embrace and integrate them.
But even if you do not get the film, it's still worth looking at, for the sheer visceralty and overwhelming power of its images.
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