The Black Angel | Chicago Reader

The Black Angel

This eccentric 1974 film by German director Werner Schroeter starts as a documentary on contemporary Mexico but gradually mutates into an avant-garde drama about postcolonialism in Central America. The story—what little there is—involves two women (Ellen Umlauf and Magdalena Montezuma) who traipse around some Incan ruins and wax poetic about life and death. Schroeter stages all this as if it were some sort of operetta (most recognizably in the women's make-up, hairstyles, and gestures), but does so in a way that deconstructs the genre. His fascination with Mexico and its customs is evident from the women's interaction with both the landscape and natives surrounding them (all nonprofessional actors). But the women's esoteric rambling soon grows tiresome, as do Schroeter's touristic affections.

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