19. The Fan (1982)
Just as the title suggests, Eckhart Schmidt’s The Fan (aka Trance) focuses on the basic plot of an obsessed teen pop fan, Simone (Désirée Nosbusch), who is smitten with electro-pop artist “R” (Bodo Staiger). This is where the simplicity of the narrative ends.
This isn’t a run of the mill, bunny boiler epic as one might expect from its synopsis. Schmidt employs his love for music and art to make something of a statement piece. The tone and tempo owe a huge debt to the dreamy and surreal electro-pop/ Krautrock soundscape that the director utilizes so brilliantly throughout. Instead of building a canvass that distorts and amplifies the delirium and hysteria that can stem from “fandom,” Schmidt is far more subtle in his vision. This makes The Fan rather difficult to summarize.
With all that being being said, see this film. Its final act alone is worth the price of admission. The final half hour, presented largely without dialogue, is genuinely and profoundly horrific, and unfolds in as morbidly atmospheric a manner as can be imagined. Schmidt definitely doesn’t skimp on the gruesome details, which thanks to the film’s unerringly assured style, never seem gratuitous or out of place. Only a ridiculously phony bald cap worn by the heroine in the final scenes mars the overall effect.
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