Austria, Germany 2022Language:German, EnglishSubtitles:EnglishDirector:Jan SoldatCinematographer:found footageEditor:Jan SoldatProducer:Jan SoldatDistributor:sixpackfilm8 min, Colour and B&W
No one dies more beautifully than Udo Kier. His multiform passing in several dozen roles becomes a gallop ride through five decades of film and television history via vivid montage in Jan Soldat's Staging Death and a comprehensive tribute to this fearless actor, a surfer between (supposedly) noble art and the holiest trash. Kier's idiosyncratic performances ooze with idiosyncratic creatureliness, which comes out clearest, purest, most beautiful in the moments of his on-screen death. The legendary blue eyes sometimes open, sometimes closed, the mouth sometimes wide open for a final scream, sometimes distorted with pain, sometimes smiling almost peacefully. The body, just not yet a corpse, twitches or rests or is shot and torn apart. In Jan Soldat's artfully playful condensation of this unprecedented career, a new cosmos opens up with every blink of an eye and each one, by means of texture and atmosphere, suggests means of production and contexts: from auteur film to video store material, from sexploitation to children's television programmes, from blockbuster to avant-garde. Seen in this light, Staging Death is also a delightful distillation of a worthy research project that encompasses 170 feature films, 50 short films and 120 episodes of television series. Out of all the dead Udos in it grew this homage, as essay and found footage work and supercut as indeterminate, indefinable and "effortlessly cool" as its star. In the middle of it all, as the apex and key moment, a scene from John Carpenter's masterful one-hour Cigarette Burns: Udo Kier defecates and threads his intestines into a film projector. "I made my own movie," he says into the camera, as if he doesn't know that he has always done this, that it has always been like this.