I have owned this film for years. After all, it comes with Pierrot Lunaire which I reviewed here. Es heisst Theaterrealität. It is two things in one--a film of Schumann's Dichterliebe and a film of people filming Schumann's Dichterliebe--and it can be played either way. I am showing the long version without subtitles for the full experience.
There is an extended bit filming Christine Schaefer's bare feet. In another section she says "Ich liebe dich" into the camera over and over. Unsuccessfully. We do not feel loved. The pianist Natasha Osterkorn takes a bath.
They are German, they smoke, they drink. "Es ist leichter sich am Arsch zu kratzen als am Hertzen," she writes on a blackboard while singing "Ich grolle nicht." Hoffentlich.
She is performing the songs in a moving railroad car with ragged furniture and dirt. And a grand piano. And an audience that appears and disappears.
One hears the words as never before.
I begin to feel that the truly modern exists only in Germany. I begin to long for Berlin Alexanderplatz.