Café Müller is an intimate work, based on Bausch's childhood memories of her parents' establishment. Her grown-up self re-enters the café as a sleepwalker, eyes shut tight, arms outstretched as if remembering the scene by touch.
Five other people are present - but their behaviour appears both pointless and obsessional. The action is seen as by a child, but also as by an adult who understands the tragedies and disappointments the caféé once harboured. There is the woman, who keeps leaping ardently into the arms of her lover who in turn weakly, sorrowfully keeps dropping her. There is the man anxious and bespectacled, who races through the caféé knocking away chairs and tables in case someone might get hurt, and the second woman who ineffectually gestures kindly intentions but is unable to attract any notice.
At first sight the piece looks bleak, a forensically pared down study of lost souls. Yet the way the action is layered around the wispy presence of Bausch's dream figure gives it a magical quality of remembering. (We are indebted to Judith Mackrell of the Guardian for this description).
The DVD is accompanied by a paperback book with text and relevant interviews in English, German, French, and Italian, and is coded for world-wide use.