Scene by scene, text by text, taken individually, these lessons richen the mind (and again, I didn’t realize, first time around, that we were drawing a full circle). Taken as a whole, however, you begin to worry.
As with Straub-Huillet, much pleasure and invigoration is supposed to come from the audience encountering a book or text. . . . When Evelyn reads of and speaks about Dante’s character of Pia de' Tolomei is the moment Classical Period epitomizes a cinematic ideal: the actress seems to at once embody the book she’s reading, taking it into herself, and also transform it, reveal it through her own version of the story it tells.
It took me a while to get on this film's wavelength—far less comic than Short Stay and far more Straub–Huilletesque—but once I did, I found this to be quite moving. Reciting and dissecting texts, formalist psychology, relationships defined in impersonal exchanges. Less complete than Fendt's first feature, maybe, but this is a direction I want to follow him in.