Regarded now as the very first punk in the history of choreographic modernity, Valeska Gert was a “bête de scène” with a career punctuated by appearances in many films. This montage of film fragments from the beginning to the end of her career (1925–1978) brings home the extent to which the medium of film constituted another space for her to deploy her ground-breaking performances, allowing her to benefit notably from the possibilities offered by framing devices unavailable in cabarets, theaters, and other places where she performed live.
Gert was born as Gertrud Valesca Samosch to a Jewish family in Berlin. A dancer, choreographer, cabaret artist, writer and militant, she stood out very early in her exceptionally long career as one of the most remarkable performing artists of the avant-garde movements of the 1920s. From Berlin to Paris to New York, she counts as one of the most out-of-the-ordinary dancers and actors in the history of modernity. From Pabst, Renoir, and Fellini to Fassbinder, Schlöndorff and Ottinger, many a director turned to her for the intensity of her gestures and cast her to play unforgettable parts in their films.