Little Mother must’ve been an irresistible proposition for Metzger. A loose adaptation of Eva Peron’s life (made, so he claims, long before she was famous anywhere outside of Argentina), the film’s ambitions far exceed Metzger’s grasp, in part because the concept of using sexual congress as a tool and nothing more, as the Eva stand-in Marina Pinares does so here, is something that even Metzger finds psychologically improbable. Nonetheless, his fragmented, chronologically short-of-breath approach to the film’s form is always interesting, even if the gritty, industrialized Yugoslavian location shooting is a far and unwelcome cry from the Europosh delicacy that characterizes his other films. (Even the aristocratic capital dining hall that Marina invites the working class into, demonstrating her power over “The People” and their devotion to her looks more like a medieval artillery warehouse than a refurbished ballroom.) As an ingénue, the only physical features that Christiane Krüger (as Marina) has in common with Metzger’s other protagonists are her perfect, alabaster complexion and magnificently buoyant breasts. Otherwise her thick accent is rather brusque where Metzger’s stock vocal delivery is usually breathy, meowing, and anxious. Her body remains rigid and alert instead of languorously reclining (her love scenes unsurprisingly feature her on top, bolt upright). Her jaw is strong and masculine instead of conic (best exemplified by his follow-up Score‘s pixette Lynn Lowry). Not to be flippant about it, but this aesthetic casting divergence is the very essence of Metzger’s versatility. And even if he ends up locking himself out of Marina’s psyche, he still proves capable and cognizant enough to express his dramatic dilemma via a visionary tableau of erotic detachment: Marina and a suitor feel each other up on opposing sides of a shower stall pane of glass (an image that Chantal Akerman was no doubt inspired by while making La Captive).
- Audubon Films
- 95 min
- Radley Metzger
- Brian Phelan
- Christiane Krüger, Siegfried Rauch, Mark Damon, Ivan Desny, Anton Diffring
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