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SCHRAMM

Germany, 1993 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Jörg Buttgereit

Schramm is a guilty pleasure, a dark secret that many viewers may not admit to being ghoulishly mesmerised by. Rather than a direct descendant of almost three decades of exploitation cinema and Z-grade horror, Schramm is frequently enticing, poetic and cer­tainly genuinely chilling.

Ignoring for a moment Jörg Buttgereit's docu­mentary tribute to himself, Corpse Fucking Art, and his Super-8 shorts years, the director has progressed creatively-if not thematically-with each successive feature.

Unencumbered by much in the way of plot, Schramm defies linear time-lines flitting from real or imagined episodes in the sordid and numbingly morbid life of Lothar Schramm, the cab-driving loon of the title. It is never apparent whether much of the carnage and post-mortem defiling depicted has actually occurred or belongs to Lothar's fevered imagination as he lays drifting in and out of consciousness after a fall.

Buttgereit has obviously boned up on the unpleasant personal habits and assorted kinks related in tabloid biographies of serial killers. Lothar punctuates his singularly mundane existence with fevered necrophillic fantasies ampu­tation anguish and self-abuse taken from the comical to the extreme.

Essentially bereft of any accepted moral code, Schramm owes its compelling nature to dreamlike recollections graphic Cronenberg-esque hallucinations, a throbbing industrial score, way nasty executions and disturbed sex-play. Perversely, Scfirnmm may prompt a pause to reflect on our death obsessed culture.

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