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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, January 8, 1980
7:30 p.m. Imposters
Mark Rappaport (West Germany,1979)

From last November’s Chicago International Film Festival come these two reviews of Mark Rappaport’s most recent and biggest-budget ($115,000) feature:

“A strange, obsessive, darkly funny film that Rappaport has described as ‘an unholy union between “The Maltese Falcon” and “Remembrance of Things Past”’ - although that overlooks the obvious references to Cole Porter, Boris Karloff, Jean Cocteau and the Three Stooges.
“Sinister, silly and sometimes murderous twins named Chuckie and Mikey track down an Egyptian treasure while performing a magic act with their assistant, Tina. She is romanced by Peter, a soulfully glum young man who is bothered by, among other things, Tina’s apparent yen for Gina, her former partner in what Chuckie euphemistically calls ‘a tumbling act.’
“Rappaport’s style owes something to the melodramas of Douglas Sirk, and he has found performers - particularly Ellen McElduff (Tina) and Peter Evans (Peter) - who have the deapan lunacy he needs to flesh out his vision. Campy as can be, Impostors also is a sober meditation on false and true love and the ways in which fictions of romance (particularly Hollywood’s fictions) permeate our lives.” —Gene Siskel.

“...the new film by Rappaport, an original and refreshing New York film maker whose films defy description at the same time they inspire critical flights of fancy. Rappaport films combine melodrama, the trappings of Victorian intrigue, leftovers from pulp detective thrillers and slapstick comedies, earnest psychoanalytical insights into human sexuality, structuralism, and pop art. Impostors can be watched as a movie, or it can be watched as a catalog for a gallery show combining film narrative and experiments with found objects, decor, mannered dialog, wry humor and the Marx Brothers.” —Roger Ebert.

Starring as the sinister vaudeville team, Chuckie and Mikey, are Charles Ludlam, founder of the celebrated Ridiculous Theatrical Company, and Mickey Burg, who performed in the original off-Broadway production of “The Passion of Dracula” for 18 months.

• Written and Directed by Mark Rappaport. Photographed by Fred Murphy. Edited by Rappaport and Meri Weingarten. Sound by Rick Patterson. With Peter Evans, Ellen McElduff, Charles Ludlam, Michael Burg, Lina Todd, Randy Danson. (1979, 120 mins, color, Print from Mark Rappaport)