Daniel Schmid’s La Paloma

A CASINO IN the south of France. A suicide at the blackjack table. A magician fanning a hand of cards. A hermaphrodite in a laurel wreath and toga reclines on a Recamier couch, with back titles: La Force de l’Imagination. An ancient party, her feathered headdress vibrant against the velvet theater curtains, singing. “You came along, from out of nowhere.” Beautiful dreams, beautiful schemes from nowhere. . . . And then Viola appears, the chimerical essence of fatale.

An epicene young man, alone at a table with his glass of champagne, falls in love with the mysterious singer. She has tuberculosis. They marry. A honeymoon at various spas, where she is cured. On a train to the races, he looks up from his newspaper and tells her: Eva Perón is dead. Oh yes, she sighs.

At his family château in Switzerland, boredom sets in.

She has an affair with his best friend, who refuses to run away with her.

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