In the '70s German filmmaker Rudolf Thome was an up-and-coming director, much admired on the film festival circuit. I enjoyed his work, but watching his movies decades later can understand his subsequent plummet to obscurity.
SUPERGIRL, which has nothing whatsoever to do with comic books or fantasy, is a rather tedious portrait of an aimless waif named Francesca, well-played by attractive Iris Berben.
She is introduced wandering in orange jumpsuit, picked up on the highway by playboy-styled Charly (Nikolaus Dutsch) driving his sports car. He takes her to his apartment where she promptly collapses, beginning a seemingly platonic relationship.
He takes her to a country estate and introduces her to his pal Paul Evers (dour but effective Marquard Bohm), a successful novelist who falls in love with Francesca. Remaining member of the menage is an attractive blonde played by Karin Thome, the director's wife and frequent star.
Paul is working on adapting one of his books for the screen for indie producer Polonsky (we hear the name many times before meeting him, and the viewer naturally assumes that it's Roman Polanski, but the in-joke probably refers to Abraham Polonsky, black-listed Hollwyood great then in Europe shooting his finale, the unjustly forgotten ROMANCE OF A HORSETHIEF.
Paul brings Francesca with him when he finally meets Polonsky to sign contracts for the movie, and the producer is immediately taken with her, planning to make her into a big movie star. (Film's title SUPERGIRL turns out to be referring instead to the Warhol superstar tradition, not a teenage DC Comics heroine.) Jess Hahn is terrific as the cigar-chomping Polonsky.
Film begins to drift at this point, ultimately bogging down in Paul's slide into drunkenness and aimlessness. Key subplot of Francesca becoming paranoid about a black Cadillac pursuing her is sloppily handled, merely there to pave the way for a mysterious open ending.
Best thing here is a vibrant instrumental rock soundtrack credited to "Mainhorse Airline" but per IMDb the work of synthesizer maestro Patrick Moraz. But the film is less a road movie in the style of Wim Wenders than a spin off of the burgeoning Rainer Werner Fassbinder school. I gave myself high marks for spotting (without any advance warning or prompting) brief and overly-subtle cameos (medium to long shots, no closeups) by Fassbinder and icon Eddie Constantine.
Locations in Spain and France are well-shot by the great Affonso Beato, but the film kind of lies there, thanks to an ill-developed script by Max Zihlmann. The biting satire of Fassbinder's similarly "inside the movie biz" film BEWARE OF A HOLY WHORE (made around this time with Constantine co-starring, in Italy) is absent.
One peril of low-budget, minimalist filmmaking: Bohm's character is a bon vivant, almost jet setter type, but he wears the same flashy white suit throughout, hardly credible.
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