Director: Ulrike Ottinger
FREAK ORLANDO is divided into five more-or-less distinct sections, all featuring “Freak” Orlando, a woman, played by the late Magdalena Montezuma (an Ottinger regular), who appears in various guises (and deformities) throughout.
The opening scene is an arresting one, depicting a lone traveler wandering across a barren landscape and entering the Freak City; outside its gates is a woman who literally grows plant-like from the ground.
Part one has Freak Orlando afflicted with a cone-shaped head bearing a third eye. Together with her seven dwarf friends, she pounds an anvil as entertainment for the patrons of a shopping mall. She and her minions get thrown out, though, and forced back to their home in a fairy tale forest, where they somehow all end up inside a Trojan horse.
In part two, Freak Orlando is now a two-headed prophetess whose harmonic kingdom is disrupted by a band of black leather wearing punks who carry around a large, distinctly phallic cone statue and flagellate themselves constantly. They kidnap two of Orlando’s friends, resulting in a chase back to the hated shopping mall.
Part three begins in the shopping mall, with Freak Orlando seduced by an offer made by department store employees. Catching a glimpse of herself in a mirror, she’s suddenly transported to the Spanish Inquisition, where she endures countless tortures, eventually escaping with a band of fellow sufferers.
Part four finds Freak Orlando having changed sex. “He” falls in love with one half of a pair of Siamese twins, but the other twin grows jealous and Mr. Orlando, fed up with all the whining, kills both halves.
Part five takes place in a large field where Freak Orlando hosts a “Festival of ugliness.” Crippled folks perform their various acts, which include an amputee chorus line and a midget dance, on a stage, and then Orlando crowns the winner with a trophy bearing the inscription: “Limping is the way of the crippled.”
Country: West Germany