23.1.12

C - Dietrich, by Malena Shepard Skaerved, comments by André Bandeira

I always admired Marlene Dietrich. I didn't love her, I didn't idolized her. She died suddenly, at least for me when I lived in Vienna, on 1992,while she was still trying to amaze the public with some contradictory news, and some flashbacks about her late shows, made up of gnashing and pain. She acted in a movie I don't remember the name, which failed at the ticket-offices, because it contained a flashback -- let's say: a clarification made by the narrator -- with a deliberate lie. Nevertheless Marlene, Maria Magdalene Dietrich, always told that she was the evidence of herself. This biography is fine, not because of the details, but because of the caches, notably an amazing one which tells the story of the whole Second World War, in a chronology of a few lines. The thing I love the most in her, was the way she mingled together with the young soldiers, about to march to the front. She embraced them, caressed them, laughed and danced with them, and all were young enough to be her children. She was a failure in finance, without ever being a waster. She always wanted to become a Theatre actress but life did her otherwise. At a certain point she considered herself a prostitute, while scrambling to get contracts in the studios and she didn't mean it as a tragedy.She was a sinner, of course, a big one, and she managed to stay afloat thanks to her cabarettist talents and an elaborate make-up. But everytime she stepped on stage, she managed to behave as Lola, her first main role: we have to dance and be gay, just because there is some dance and gaiety in the world to be taken by someone, no matter the circumstances. As she said, her Berlin humour made her survive. But I do not agree: it was her heart, her boyish heart in a woman's bosom who made her sing and act as if she had the mission, on this earth, of making the others feel that the world stays beautiful and the gray sky will be there, light blue, in Summer. Let's lesson to «Illusions», a song written by her old jewish piano-player, Fred Hollaender, which was able, more than any Treaty, to make everybody understand that Right is never, all of it, on the side of the winners.