Black Apollo replaces Black Venus. Angelo reconstructs the state of mind of enlightened Europeans, or people who believe in science, art and progress. So what if it’s blind, stupid and racist—and perhaps not only in the 18th century. We don’t need historical costumes these days to believe in human trafficking, freak shows, hazing and social exclusion. Angelo ends up in the hands of white aristocrats who want to make a full-fledged person out of him: he learns to speak French, to wear elegant clothes and to master the flute. Quickly reaching the limits of tolerance of the ladies and gentlemen of the court, however, he is removed from the stage. He grows up lonely while attempting to live a more profound existence; he wants to change their views through learned debate. The son of Africa and husband of Europe finds loved ones and tries to live life his own way. The wonderful set design presented in San Sebastián and Toronto shows the mansion as theater and mastery of one’s role as a terrifying survival mechanism. This is a world that mummifies and encloses otherness in a museum display case—fire is the only solution.
Marcus Schleinzer is a well-known casting director, without whom we would have no films by Michael Haneke, Ulrich Seidel, Michael Glawogger, Pippilotti Rist or Jessica Hausner. That’s why the artistic ambitions and acting in the two films he has directed are at the highest level; the various actors who play the eponymous Angelo create a unified, believable character. Angelo took part in the competition in San Sebastián and in Toronto. His earlier film, Michael, took part in the main competition in Cannes and won the Viennale and the European FIPRESCI Award.