Werner Schroeter | MALINA (1991), 125 min.
For our first showcase of the year at Columbia Deutsches Haus, we will begin our series of "VERFILMUNGEN", filmic adaptations of literary works, with a screening of German director Werner Schroeter’s MALINA (1991). Adapted from the Austrian author Ingeborg Bachmann's novel by Nobel prize winner Elfriede Jelinek into a highly lyrical screenplay, Schroeter's drama explores the connection between an insecure female existence, writing, and madness through a nameless female writer's (Isabelle Huppert) relationships with two men.
The drama, at times surreal, portrays the unnamed writer's life in Vienna, as she is plagued by fantastical visions and dreams of the past. Frantically writing and placing letters in envelopes, she never sends them off, but looks for communication through phone calls to her laconic lover Ivan (Can Togay). She seeks comfort in Ivan and in her roommate Malina (Mathieu Carrière), yet the former becomes increasingly distant and the latter takes on a darker, more threatening presence, ultimately observing the writer's mental disintegration and disappearance. Coupled with the unsettling score and the final imagery, one is left with the question: who is the eponymous Malina?
A short talk and discussion will follow the screening. MALINA will be shown in German with English subtitles. Screenings by the Film Faction are free and open to the public.