Clara | Sunday May 18th, 2014
“Know what your weakness is, and turn it into a strength”. This is one of the reflections that filmmaker Werner Schroeter made when he was asked about the terminal cancer that he was diagnosed with in 2006. In his case, knowing that he did not have much time left, served him as motivation to know that every moment was important, and that he had to invest it in doing what he loved most; filmmaking and photography. Elfi Mikesch, who had worked with him in many of his films, decided to document the last years in Schroeter’s life. And the result was MONDO LUX, an intimate portray of the artist and his battle against time.
Werner Schroeter was one of the most important filmmakers of the New German Cinema. When he was diagnosed with cancer he was working for the Kunsthalle of Düsseldorf on the musical ‘Schönheit der Schatten’ (The Beauty of Shadows), based on the works of Robert Schumann and Heinrich Heine. In spite of everything, the director works tirelessly, insisting on doing everything perfect and making the actors repeat their takes over and over again. Schroeter talks constantly about “energy”; when talking to his actors, about his creative processes, and about his illness.
We see Werner Schroeter directing the rehearsals of “Antigone/Elektra”, preparing his photography exhibition “Autrefois & Toujours”, or working on a dubbed version of one of his films. His last four years of life combine interviews and reflections of the filmmaker and of people around him. But Elfi Mikesch’s camera never wavers, not even when Schroeter is already devastated by his illness.
Clara Rodríguez Arasanz