Werner Schroeter, Der Tod der Maria Malibran (The Death of Maria Malibran), 1972, still from a color film in 16 mm, 104 minutes. Singer (Anette Tirier) and Maria Malibran (Magdalena Montezuma).

What Schroeter does with a face, a cheekbone, the lips, an expression of the eyes [is a] multiplying and burgeoning of the body, an exaltation.

—Michel Foucault

One must regain a sense of wonder.

—Werner Schroeter

WERNER SCHROETER’S ECSTATIC FARRAGOES OF death and transfiguration aspire to the florid corporeality of Comte de Lautréamont’s Chants de Maldoror (1869). The German director—who died in 2010 at the age of sixty-five, with twenty-three feature-length films and as many shorts to his credit—revered the Surrealist avant la lettre’s sextet of prose cantos, given to impulsive shifts of tone and style and swarmed by grotesque visions: adolescent flesh rent and oozing delectable gore, swine puking at first sight of the lice-infested, God-hating narrator. Schroeter’s cinema of surfeit exults in the “burgeoning of the body” via Lautréamontian excess: At the end

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