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Critic Reviews for Marlene
A shrewd summa of stardom and late-life legend-burnishing, wearily but no less admiringly acknowledging its irascible subject's perverse genius
I think we learn much more about Dietrich than we would have if she had submitted to the usual paint-by-numbers, fawning Biography Channel type of film.
The result is a fascinating document, not only of the star herself, but also of the documentary as personal process.
The bilingual parrying between the withholding diva and her frustrated chronicler often seems like Sunset Boulevard re-imagined as a radio play, with sex removed from the equation but marlenus interruptus aplenty.
Schell uses the limiting conditions-Dietrich did't let him photograph her-to an advantage, resulting in a revelatory work that's more interesting because of the combative relationship with his subject, a star wishing to keep control to the bitter end
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