June 29th, 2006


Where's Wittelsbach

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Visconti's Ludwig finally got a DVD release in the UK. I'll have to add "intelligent comments to make about the film with relation to other Visconti [or indeed Alexander Sokurov's The Sun, a portrait of Hirohito at the time of Japan's surrender to MacArthur which I particularly enjoyed]" to the pile. Both Helmut Berger (as Ludwig II) and Romy Schneider (as Elisabeth of Austria) are quite outstanding in the film, although I suspect that the gorgeous costumes and locations have their part to play here.

The DVD player refused to play the final half hour. Well, I know how the Ludwig story ends, but I couldn't watch how Visconti dealt with it. Or rather I enjoyed ten minutes of phantasmagoric digital smearing, which made Helmut Berger's face shift into a rotting wolf mask and other characters stumble around in black leather masks. Rather more Matthew Barney than I imagine was intended.

I eventually did get the film to play by ripping the data, but the wait did furnish me with a reasonable answer to the question "what happed to Helmut?" since I stumbled across a blissfully over the top English precis of his autobiography Ich. I can only wish that all biographies be written in this style, although I doubt mine ever will.

For now I'm off to Wales for the Tapestry festival and I have about half an hour to improvise a medieval costume from the depths of the wardrobe.