Synopsis by Michael Hastings
A bizarre fantasia of sorts on the classic 1963 Hollywood epic of the same name, Michel Auder's Cleopatra is an extended improvisational feature involving many seminal figures from Andy Warhol's Factory. In it, Auder takes on the persona of Caesar, his girlfriend Viva portrays Cleopatra, and various other "stars" including Nico, Ondine, and Taylor Mead populate the sidelines. Auder transposes the settings and events of the original film to modern-day: Upstate New York fills in for Egypt, snowmobiles offer a substitute for horses, and late-'60s Rome serves as Caesar's stomping grounds. The city's famous Cinecitta Studios - the same studios used in the original - were used to shoo the film's orgy and battle scenes. Auder's unstructured, uninhibited method of work caused him to lose his funding for the project, and as such, Cleopatra exists only in an unedited, rarely screened work copy.