Saturday, 1 April 2000
The Songs of Maldoror : Poetry of Obsession
By Joerg Meyer and translated by Simone Stumpf

100 minutes of film, 100 minutes of barrage by images in 12 episodes. To be seen at the premiere in the MAX. How should one with this flood of images control the short circuit in one's brain, how should one name it? One shouldn't win the upper hand, one shouldn't chase it through the portals of descriptive reason. One should be sucked under by this whirlpool of blood and semen, of poetry and obsession. If there is ever a message from the "12 songs of Maldoror" by Comte de Lautreamont, then this is it.

Even the text, by Feridun Zaimoglu, beseechingly mumbled from the off like a constantly circling and flailing prayer is a zoo of poetic images, one's floating in the power of words, a self-confident sublimation of the author into the gaping mouth of the text.

The filmed episodes by the 12 Super-8 pirates from England and Germany are like this at any time. There's a girl not only being mauled by a mastiff but also fucked, not just because 'feeding' and 'fucking' alliterate nicely. Nosferatu comes back to life at the fresh-blooded body of a boy. Jack-Arnold-spiders drill their tentacles into eyes.

A white female shark snaps at the heads of the spectators before the biblical mating with Maldoror and a canary perishes in the squashed cage.

However, fans of horror and gore are not served here. The terror is not contained in the images, instead it is between them, in the other half of time where it is night in the cinema because the image changes, in the moment where the images echo. The cinema is created in the head, so say some filmologists. Here it happens in the intestines of the spectator, starts off thoughts and associations which are so convulsive like the infernal rumbling in the bowels.

Yet not everything sinks in the 'desolate morass of images'. In the episode "Girl chases bus" by the Munich-based "Filmgruppe Abgedreht" clay is magically animated. Even a torn off head seems somehow cuddly - applause for the shot.

Extraordinary is also Caroline Kennedy's episode "The Lamp". Maldoror's bloody incest with an angel from a magic lamp is told with frozen pictures, and she asks with them what movement is in fact. And exactly this standstill, this pause at the dark snapshots of existence, at the zero points, moves.

Turned into stone one sits as the credits roll, tortured on the rack of images. However, just like in classical tragedy where the violent rage of the gods causes heads to roll, one is also cleansed by this catharsis of obsessive poetry. And one steps purified into the night, into 'the gentle night of souls'.