Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed
Hannelore Hoger (Lost Honor of Katharina Blum), veteran actress of the New German Cinema, stars as Leni Peickert in Alexander Kluge s compelling parable about art vs. entertainment, culture vs. commerce.
Leni inherits the family circus after her father is killed while practicing a difficult act. Feeling that small-time carnivals are on their way out, she updates the show by turning it into a reform circus, which consists of socially relevant entertainment. Unfortunately, it fails to attract customers, and her circus goes bankrupt twice.
The story of Leni and her woes is slight but the strength of Kluge s film is the complex imagery, with its masterful montages, filmic references, and layers of meaning. Like the circus in the film, Kluge finds popular film also to be in the throes of change a viewpoint that turned out to be prophetic.
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