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Friday, October 21

Germany, Austria, 1991
Directed by Werner Schroeter
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Mathieu Carrière, Can Togay, Fritz Schediwy
Screenplay was adapted by Elfriede Jelinek from Ingeborg Bachmann's 1971 novel Malina
Approx. 125 min. 35mm print courtesy of Cinémathèque Québécoise

“Movies about writers are almost impossible to do well—the revolutions per minute of a writer’s mind are nearly beyond the grasp of a camera, whereas the outward activities of writing are nearly inert. (Similarly, writing about filmmaking is largely doomed, because nothing in the intricacy of a literary passage can rival the gestalt of a single image.) Yet Werner Schroeter’s 1991 drama MALINA …is one of the few movies that rise to the achievement of the authors at its center—both the real-life one, Ingeborg Bachmann, whose novel it’s an adaptation of, and the fictitious, unnamed writer (played by Isabelle Huppert), the main character of the novel, whose life and work both the book and the movie depict. The movie’s literary artistry is due, in part, to a second literary refraction that the novel underwent en route to the screen: Bachmann’s novel was published in 1971 (she died in 1973), and the script for Schroeter’s film was written by Elfriede Jelinek, who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker


“It's a distressing portrait of a woman in the process of a slow-burn self-immolation. And perhaps at last, three decades after its release, we can rediscover the brilliance of Bachmann.”
– Nicholas Bell, IONCINEMA

Film Forum