Variety, Nov. 7, 2002
In a European filmmaking landscape where many a helmer indulges in celluloid onanism in hopes it will be mistaken for Art, German avant-garde filmer Klaus Wyborny devotes much of his latest pic to the antique joys of pud-pulling, as maybe practiced by Roman dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Hanns Zischler) in late June of 83 B.C. Borderline maddening but often laugh-aloud funny, this two-hour wordfest (with no synch sound) is fest fare supreme.
Wyborny makes of Sulla an ultra-thoughtful contemplator of nature as well as a randy masturbator. The general's stream of consciousness -- spoken by Wyborny as a non-stop carpet of voice-over musings -- touches on the essence of politics and the state, wrapped around his burgeoning project to erect a "Cunt Sanctuary" after fingering (in his imagination) a wench named Matilda. Zischler, lolling in a shady clearing for pic's duration, plays Sulla as a man who has conquered and pillaged the ancient world's leading cities but remains, well, a guy who is surprised at his own erotic thoughts and the fact that his hand keeps wandering to his nether regions. Latter remain discreetly beneath his toga at all times.
Camera (color, 16mm), music, Wyborny. Reviewed at Viennale Film Festival, Vienna, Oct. 22, 2002. Running time: 120 MIN.