By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Naked Opera

Dir: Angela Christlieb. Luxembourg –Germany. 2013. 85mins

Director Angela Christlieb is heard, towards the end of the film, insisting on the soundtrack that “this is a documentary” but there is ample room to believe that a term such as mockumentary would do much better in this case. Christlieb’s protagonist, Marc Rollinger, introduced as a part-time human resources manager from Luxembourg, is on camera for almost all of the film’s 85 minutes, but no person in his position could afford the kind of extravagant life style he is enjoying here, at least during the production.

Shot by Christlieb to look alternately like a travelogue featuring the sumptuous interiors of Venice, Vienna and Berlin and as a series of pictures at an exhibition the film is cut to create the impression of a richly coloured kaleidoscope rather than a straightforward narrative.

Fact or fiction - or maybe a bit of both - the final outcome is a highly entertaining, imaginative portrait of a man who has been blessed with the best there is, an unlimited budget, and the worst, an incurable autoimmune disease which could put an end to his life at any moment. An epicurean with the most refined tastes, he denies himself no pleasure, including all the male companions money can buy and all the travelling his body can sustain.

He is obsessed with Mozart’s Don Giovanni and chases every new production of the opera, wherever it might be in Europe, for he deems himself to be a Don Giovanni, a man rushing to his inevitable end in the most lavish manner, for as long as it goes. He flashes his Starwood platinum card at the most expensive hotels and has theories explaining how you can keep the precious card at the most convenient rates (which would still be exorbitant for any run-of-the mill human resources manager).

He drinks pink champagne by the gallon, pays hundreds of euros for a seat at the opera, and is never prepared to accept anything less than the best in life. By the way, all through the entire film he isn’t shown even once at his office, putting in a day’s work.

With a twinkle in his eyes and a sardonic sense of humour in which he constantly wallows, he allows the camera to stick to him like glue, whatever the circumstances, whether he checks in at Venice’s Palazzo Gritti and comments on the poisonous green colour of the room or spends time with his generously endowed male companions, most particularly porn star Jordan Fox, with whom he claims he has fallen in love.

At the same time however, he invites the crew into his medical check-ups, displays X-rays of a patched up physique held together by screws and wires, and explains that only in 2010, when he wrapped up his last chemotherapy sessions, did he ultimately get rid of all his old fears, for fear, he says, is the worst disease of all. Not a pretty picture, which would induce all those envying him up to that point, to think again whether they would like to change places with him.

Shot by Christlieb to look alternately like a travelogue featuring the sumptuous interiors of Venice, Vienna and Berlin and as a series of pictures at an exhibition the film is cut to create the impression of a richly coloured kaleidoscope rather than a straightforward narrative. As for Marc Rollinger’s self-deprecating remark in the film’s first sequence that he thinks the picture’s protagonist (that is himself) is a pompous asshole and the whole project is a waste of tax-payers money, he could be in for a surprise. This might actually make money, not waste it.

Production company: Amour Fou

International sale: Autlook Filmsales, www.autlookfilms.com

Producer: Bady Minck

Executive producer: Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu

Screenplay: Patricia Furst, Philipp Reimer

Cinematography: Jerzy Palacz

Editor: Pia Dumont

Music: Andre Mergenthaler

Main cast: Marc Rollinger, Jordan Fox, Nilton Martins, Miikka Heinonen, Maurice Humbert

newsletter+promo