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Isabelle Huppert gives a ferocious, stops-out performance as a philosophy professor driven mad by her love for two men in Werner Schroeter's literally incendiary plunge into desire, dissolution and death.
Literally incendiary, Malina is "one of the rare truly visual films about writers" (The New Yorker). Based on the celebrated novel by Ingeborg Bachmann, Malina stars Isabelle Huppert in a ferocious, stops-out performance as a philosophy professor driven mad by her love for two men, her "husband" Malina and her young lover Ivan, and by her tormented relationship with her father. Schroeter's plunge into desire, dissolution, and death must be experienced, then recovered from. "Working with a sharply lyrical adaptation by the 2004 Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek [who also wrote the novel on which Haneke's The Piano Teacher is based] of Ingeborg Bachmann's cult novel, Schroeter follows the exquisite associative logic of poetry and madness. . . . [The] story ends with a mirror game as intricate as the one in The Lady from Shanghai, but to more quietly devastating effect" (Richard Brody, The New Yorker). The superb editing is by Fassbinder veteran Juliane Lorenz, and the precise, expressive cinematography is by Elfi Mikesch.