and fetishists share a similar taste in shiny black clothes. Hanna von
Stezewitz’s old National Socialist grandfather was the former, whereas she has
the latter covered. With the old man on his death bed, she has already taken
the reins of the multinational he built in rather unsavory ways. Arguably, she
is sort of a more engaged Paris Hilton. However, von Stezewitz’s hedonism might
finally lead to her undoing in Peter Kern’s Last
Summer of the Rich
which screens during the 2016 Chicago European Union Film Festival.
a well-earned reputation for her lavish orgies and lesbian S&M sessions in
brothels, von Stezewitz has made herself a kingmaker in Vienna politics and a
patroness of its art scene. Its because of her money. Like John Gielgud’s Hobson
in Arthur, the loyal Boris tries to
smooth over her scandals as best he can, but the family of a sixteen-year-old
model roughly molested by von Stezewitz is being difficult. Of course, she
refuses to give it much thought.
she decides to hasten her ailing grandfather on his way to his infernal rest.
However, through a rather dubious O.Henry-esque twist, she also finds herself
in the hitman’s crosshairs—or at least she thinks she is. It is not clear just
how firm her grasp on reality becomes, as the film progresses. Regardless, she
will not let such matters dissuade her from romantically pursuing Sarah, the
young nun who tended to her grandfather during his final days. In fact, von
Stezewitz has rather fallen head-over-heels, which is out of character for her.
obviously Last Summer is about three
parts Rainer Werner Fassbinder and one part Tinto Brass (the worst part). Kern
(who also has extensive acting credits, including Fassbinder’s Despair) apparently never met a taboo he
couldn’t put in a film. That probably makes Last
Summer unreleaseable in American, unless a distributor can somehow remove
the scene with Stezewitz and the under-age model, while maintaining narrative
cohesion. Good luck with that.
it is all rather ridiculously over the top, particularly the masked assassin
stalking von Stezewitz like the Pink Panther. Seriously, these folks spend more
time in brothels than the characters of Game
of Thrones. The tacked-on fig leaf of class-consciousness just makes it all
least, everyone understands what is required of them. As von Stezewitz, Amira
Casar vamps it up like a poor man’s Asia Argento. Nicole Gerdon’s Sister Sarah
seems almost ethereally unreal, but she still has her moments. Yet, it is
Winfried Glatzeder who steals the show as dour, vinegary Boris.
Summer is not a great movie, nor
is it bashful or apologetic, but there are still reasons to see it. You should
know by now whether those are your reasons. Ludicrous and lecherous, Last Summer of the Rich follows in the tradition
of Teutonic art house exploitation, so fans of Brass’s Salon Kitty can have at it when it screens this Friday (3/25) and
next Tuesday (3/29) at the Siskel Film Center, as part of this year’s Chicago
EU Film Festival.
Labels: Austrian Cinema, EU Chicago '16, Naughty films