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BUSTER’S BEDROOM (director/writer: Rebecca Horn; screenwriter: Martin Mosebach; cinematographer: Sven Nykvist ; editor: Barbara von Weitershausen ; music: Sergei Kuryokhin; cast: Taylor Mead (James), Donald Sutherland (Dr. O’Connor), Mary Woronov (Jane), David Warrilow (Warlock), Geraldine Chaplin (Diana Daniels), Martin Wuttke (Joe), Amanda Ooms (Micha), Ari Snyder (Lenny Silver), Valentina Cortese (Serafina Tannenbaum); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Luciano Gloor; Alliance (Metropolis); 1991-Canada/Germany//Portugal)
It’s the surreal kind of film Bunuel could have made.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An absurdist comedy written and directed by Rebecca Horn (“La Ferdinanda“/”Der Eint√§nzer“). Its weirdness often hits sweet spots. The German production is in English and is in color. Martin Mosebach is co-writer.The teenager Micha (Amanda Ooms) is obsessed with the great silent comedian Buster Keaton. She arrives in Santa Barbara, at Nirvana House, a private asylum, where the alcoholic Keaton allegedly underwent detoxification during the 1930s. Unfortunately, the once elegant institution has gone to seed. It has been taken over by the inmates and they choose the eccentric madman Dr. O’Connor (Donald Sutherland) to run the place following the unexpected death of its chief physician. O’Connor collects poisonous snakes in the basement. One of the patients is the embittered alcoholic actress Diane (Geraldine Chaplin), who is in a wheelchair because of a psychosomatic ailment. Mr. Warlock (David Warrilow) is an asexual beekeeper. The resident Serafina (Valentina Cortese, Italian actress), a former diva, keeps butterflies in the icebox. Taylor Mead makes for a delightfully untrustworthy gardener. Joe (Martin Wuttke), like Micha, is not an inmate, but has come here to act with the diva as he once did in a film they made together. But when the inmates get carried away with reality, they have have violent reactions and to escape such dangers Joe and Micha must swim away to safety. The film’s funniest sight-gag has Micha placed in a straitjacket and escaping. Supposedly Buster during his stay was also placed in a straitjacket. The slight plot is an excuse to introduce a bevy of bizarre characters. It’s the kind of surreal film Bunuel could have made.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”