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Schroeter, Werner (1945–2010) By Ehrenreich, Andreas

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-REM2148-1
Published: 1/3/2024
Retrieved: 19 July 2024, from


In the late 1960s, Werner Schroeter taught himself to handle a camera and shot his first shorts on Super 8 and 16 mm that were presented at the Festival of Knokke in Belgium. After the critical success of his breakthrough Eika Katappa (1969), the writer-director created over 20 experimental feature-length fictional films and documentaries that are infused with his unique queer style and sensibility. Schroeter displayed a profound interest in music, equally in opera and ‘Schlager’, mixing the hits of his favourite artists Maria Callas and Caterina Valente in his films’ soundtracks. Music dominates the viewing experience at the expense of narrative progression. Blending high and low art elicits a kind of intense melodramatic emotionality which is the director’s primary aesthetic concern. Often, the films linger on their characters’ extreme emotional states without regard to story coherence or psychological development. Schroeter’s cinema dwells frequently on scenes of excess, showcasing loose series of meticulously composed tableaus. It is a highly artificial and manneristic œuvre with a modernist pastiche-like quality that contains manifold references to literature and visual art. Thematically, many of his films focus on death and the instability of sexual identity.

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Ehrenreich, Andreas. Schroeter, Werner (1945–2010). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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