|JOURNEYS FROM BERLIN/1971 (director: Yvonne Rainer; screenwriters: Jon Else/Wolfgang Senn/Michael Steinke/Shinkichi Tajiri /Carl Teitelbaum; editor: Yvonne Rainer; cast: Annette Michelson, Vito Acconci, Cynthia Beatt; Runtime: 125; MPAA Rating: NR; Zeitgeist Films; 1980-USA/UK/West Germany-in English)|
by Dennis Schwartz
artist expat Yvonne Rainer ("Kristina Talking
Pictures"/"Privilege"/"The Man Who Envied Women"),
living in Berlin and a John Cage enthusiast for his
revolutionary compositions, helms this engaging surrealistic
drama. It's the already noted expat modern
dancer and choreographer's fourth and possibly best
film. It severely questions psychiatric treatment and
the effectiveness of radical politics.
the fifty-something Annette Michelson is on
her Freudian shrink's couch being analyzed, she is
caught both reminiscing and falling asleep.
Through flashbacks and stream-of-consciousness
images with a voice-over, a strange mixture of
hallucinations unfold such as on German
terrorism, alienation and sexual encounters. The
therapist is played alternately by a man,
woman, and nine year old boy. There are eerie
tracking shots of Stonehenge, revolutionary
Russia and the Berlin Wall in 1971.
The experimental film-maker offers space for political and psychological introspection, lets us listen to rants by various revolutionaries and allows us the luxury of comparing societies from both 19th century Russian and contemporary German to understand how each was so violent. Things turn burlesque when at one point, the patient addresses the boy-analyst and compares procreation to the internal combustion engine.
REVIEWED ON 11/5/2014 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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