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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 27, 1979
7:00 p.m. The Scenic Route (Die Andere Schwester)
Mark Rappaport (USA, 1977)

Mark Rappaport is a highly original New York filmmaker who managed to produce three independent features, on very low budgets - Casual Relations (1973), Mozart in Love (1975), and Local Color (1977) - which gained considerable attention in European critical circles, thanks to the consistent support of the Edinburgh Film Festival. ZDF’s support for The Scenic Route enabled Rappaport to work in color for the first time. “And what color!” notes Chicago critic Ruby Rich: “His crazy overwrought palette pays no mind to the rules of continuity, shifting hues in tune with the scenario’s mood, startling the viewer with its primary-toned bravado, coloring over a set that is itself artfully designed and lit to alternately mock or emphasize the heroine’s rites of passage.” At its London Film Festival premiere last year, Guardian critic Derek Malcolm noted:
“Those frightened by ‘experimental’ film-making can be assured that Rappaport always tells a story, never seems pretentious and can usually be relied upon chiefly to entertain, if often by provocation. He describes this film as ‘about the unbridgeable gap between what we say and what we feel, what we mean and what we say and perhaps most of all between what we say and what is heard at the other end.’ The plot is an eternal triangle comprising two (very attractive) sisters and a gentleman.... The language is deliberately baroque, the source partly operatic and, as Rappaport has also said, it is about the Madame Bovary in all of us. The result is enormous, and stimulating, fun.”


• Written and Directed by Mark Rappaport. ZDF Production Executives, Eckart Stein and Annegret Even. Photographed by Fred Murphy. With Randy Danson, Marlyn Jones, Kevin Wade. (USA, 1977, 76 mins, color, Print Courtesy of Mark Rappaport)