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A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

Tuesday, November 20, 1979
7:00 p.m. Willow Springs
Werner Schroeter (1973)

Werner Schroeter in Person!

“Willow Springs might be described as a camp opera, a costume drama, or a sequin-studded black mass. It is a study in passivity, exquisite agony, sexual longings, egotism, and power....
“Shot in the Mojave Desert, it is, ostensibly, the story of three women acting out their ritualistic relationships in isolation - until a young man joins them. Juxtaposed to the heroines’ self-contemplative monologues and family quarrels, all of which seem to exist on an epic, heroic plane - is the rugged desert landscape: on one level in total contrast to the emotional and physical refinements of the personae, on another, the perfect flat tableau against which their tiniest machinations may be viewed with microscopic precision.
“At times the women’s self-involvement is so complete, their reality so insular and solipsistic, that the very movements of their bodies and the sounds of their voices appear to be happening in slowed motion and time. Schroeter counters this tendency with a soundtrack which changes gears too fast to allow the viewer to fall into a trance. Willow Springs combines tragic arias with Country Western ballads and fifties rock and roll.”

—Karen Cooper, Film Forum, New York, 1974

• Written and Directed by Werner Schroeter. Photographed by Schroeter. With Magdalena Montezuma, Christine Kaufmann, Ila Von Hasperg, Michael O’Daniel. (1973, 76 mins, color, In English and German with English titles, Print Courtesy of The Goethe Institute)