Eye-gouging, a post-rape set piece, vomit and piss, all within the first 2 minutes. Then, a walk along a river with floating dead animals. We’ve entered the new work of underground Swiss filmmaker, Juval Marlon, Todesmarsch Nach Chiasso.
I became a fan of Marlon’s late in the game, with his film Einöde der Peiniger (Solitude of the Tormentors). I must admit that I went into that film convinced I was going to see something in the vein of Marian Dora-light (the cover image, the trailer, etc.). Of course, I was wrong and recognized he had a voice of his own. There was certainly inspiration, but no plagiarism.
This film is more an analysis of the extreme underground than an extreme underground vehicle. Though it has its share of uncomfortable moments, it is more a study of underground actor Marco Klammer (Einöde der Peiniger, Das Verlangen der Maria D., Thomas und Marco, etc.) and veers between autobiography and fantasy, interspersed with vignettes of r*pe and interviews with actor Isabelle Fitzgerald (Einöde der Peiniger) and Anastasia Tschikatilo.
This is a character study of Marco coming to terms with the death of his co-star and self-professed ‘soulmate’ Sara Negrisolo (aka Shivabel Coeurnoir, underground film star known for her work with Cosmotropia de Xam and Dora’s ‘…Maria D.’). It deals with his issues of agoraphobia, extreme alcoholism and potential misogynist tendencies. He questions the possibility of being a serial killer and misanthropy (his hatred of online trolls is particularly relatable).
More interestingly however, is his discussion around the hypocrisy between the actual abuses of the Hollywood power structure vs. something like A Serbian Film where people “get upset when a guy holds a rubber doll to his penis for two seconds” and his opinion of the films that have disturbed him along the way.
Having seen Thomas und Marco (Dora’s experimental exposé on Klammer and Thomas Goersch, another underground actor) earlier this year, my perception of Klammer was not a positive one. I’m not sure that this has softened my opinion, but it adds another level to the complex mythos that seems to surround him. The question you are left with is ‘Has he found catharsis through his quest?’