Helmut Berger, Actor

2015 / 90 min
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A relentless, yet intimate portrait of the legendary actor and former Luchino Visconti “muse” Helmut Berger. At the height of his stardom and handsomeness Berger epitomized the exuberant jet set lifestyle of the 70s. In recent years he has settled for a more secluded and modest lifestyle. The man who embodied King Ludwig II so hauntingly in Visconti’s same-titled film now reigns in a run down two-room apartment at the outskirts of his hometown Salzburg, Austria. In this small hideaway kingdom time seems to have stopped. Helmut Berger’s mood swings and sudden outbursts of aggression are reminiscent of actor Klaus Kinski’s tirades. But the film exposes the brusqueness of his character for what it really is: a cry for attention, closeness and intimacy. 

 

The term “exhibitionism“ is almost too weak to describe what happens in this film.
– PROFIL, Stefan Grissemann

 

The great masturbation scene at the end is a classic HOLLYWOOD BABYLON of European and Viscontian cinema … One of the best films in Venice this year.
– DAGOSPIA, Marco Giusti

 

Horvath creates a portrait … which can hardly be exceeded in tragedy and comedy.
– WIENER ZEITUNG, Matthias Greuling

 

This film might go down in the history of cinema … A hall of mirrors, a horror show. But:what a film! … In the already legendary final scene — one that puts this movie in the gallery of the greatest horror films and among the most disturbing evidences that cinema has given of itself — Helmut Berger summons Horvath, invokes the contact, while masturbating and ending in an exhausting orgasm under the unblinking eye of the camera …
– Nuovo Cinema Locatelli

 

This film is beautiful and Helmut Berger’s ruins have the gloomy and solemn splendor of Piranesi.
– LA STAMPA, Alberto Mattioli

 

An amazing documentary …
– CLOSE UP, Antonio Pezzuto

 

Screams and name-calling in multiple languages, vulgarism and obscenities,
aggressiveness towards the director — a star of the movies and a bygone era, locked in a world of madness. Horvath’s film oscillates between a candid camera masterpiece and a pornography of pain, and puts a tombstone on stardom.

– VANITY FAIR, Paola Jacobbi

 

A protrait about a pair like Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski.
– PUBLICO, Vasco Camara

 

You have managed the almost impossible task of shaping, with incredible delicacy and poetic strength, a character whose greatness reminds me of a tragic Greek heroine like Hecuba or Clytemnestra, and at the same time has become the living incarnation of Sunset Boulevard’s Norma Desmond, but in real life and not in a fiction. You have made the portrait of the last diva of a dead century — and maybe Helmut Berger is the only diva that has ever existed. I can’t stop thinking about it: it made me laugh and cry in turns, it shocked me, moved me, it got me thrilled and depressed, and of course it has also triggered deep reflections on the morbid love/desire/sex/sadomasochistic relationship that develops between every director and his actors.
– Davide Tortorella (writer, translator)