Skip to schedule and film credits
Werner Schroeter's requiem for his dying muse Magdalena Montezuma, a deliriously beautiful tale of a Gothic matron presiding over a ruinous, fog-shrouded Portuguese chateau, is a summa of the director's cinema and obsessions.
"The best film of the year. . . as close to greatness as Schroeter has come since his masterpieces of twelve or fifteen years ago" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). A requiem for Magdalena Montezuma, who was dying as the film was made, the polyglot Rose King is a summa of Schroeter's cinema and obsessions. Presiding over a ruinous Portuguese chateau swathed in nocturnal fog, Montezuma plays Anna, the Gothic mama of Mostéfa Djamjam, who spends his days grafting roses "to make the imperfect perfect." The obsessed horticulturalist catches a hunky young local (Antonio Orlando) pilfering from the alms box — a nod to Robert Bresson's Le Diable probablement, a film Fassbinder also greatly admired — and incarcerates him in the barn, bathing and hand-feeding his St. Sebastian-like prisoner. Like ceaselessly ornamented coloratura, The Rose King never relents, its every ultra-tactile image, shot by Elfi Mikesch, exquisite and absolute. "One of the high points of eighties world cinema, still woefully little-known" (Chuck Stephens, Film Comment), the Jean Genet-influenced King surges on a wave of Puccini, Arabic chant, and disco to its final apotheosis in which flesh and flower forcibly unite, one grafted to the other in blood-drenched veneration.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS FILM CONTAINS DISTURBING GRAPHIC IMAGERY AND SCENES OF VIOLENCE. VIEWER DISCRETION IS STRONGLY ADVISED.