He used the same actors over and over again, sometimes in bit parts, sometimes as leads.
Love Is Colder Than Death: The Cinema of Rainer Werner Fassbinder
It was impossible to work for him, they said, and impossible not to. Only one became an international star-- Hanna Schygulla , whose work in " The Marriage of Maria Braun " is possibly the best performance in a Fassbinder film he cast her in one of his last films as the fabled " Lili Marleen ". But many were able to show an astonishing range-- Irm Hermann , for example, who shares the lead in "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant," as the slavish assistant of a self-destructive dress signer, and then turns up as a housewife in "The Merchant of the Four Seasons," and the unloving daughter of a lonely old lady in " Ali: Fear Eats the Soul " reviewed as this week's Great Movie on page 5 of Showcase.
All of those titles are among Fassbinder's best, but consider also " Fox and His Friends " , starring Fassbinder as a lower-class workingman who wins the lottery and find popular in Munich's gay circles. He is flattered to become the lover of a middle-class businessman, little suspecting that his winnings, not his charms, are the attraction. Other films of its period would have considered the gay theme daring; "Fox" accepts the homosexual milieu in an utterly matter-of-fact way, as background for the romantic melodrama that Fassbinder is more interested in.
He moved back and forth between gay and heterosexual sex in his stories, and insiders claimed they could decode some of them: The lesbian triangle in "Petra von Kant," for example, is "really" about an entanglement in Fassbinder's own life. The dowdy middle-aged lady in " Ali ," who is astonished to find herself the lover of a handsome Moroccan, may have "really" been Fassbinder, too he cast his lover of the time as the man.
Who knows. What matters is that the films came from deep within; we sense the hurt and urgency in many of them. Fassbinder borrowed or refurbished standard Hollywood plots and situations in many cases, but not to remake them--to rethink them, since so many classic heartbreak situations do play out in ordinary lives, as well as in the movies. He demonstrated this approach again in the epic hour miniseries "Berlin Alexanderplatz," which Facets will show in early June.
Fassbinder directed his first feature in , and was dead in Who else has created such a torrent of film, at such a high level of artistry? It's tempting to say he hurried because he knew his time was limited. Not at all. He hurried because his life was in his work, and those who knew him best wrote afterwards that he feared losing his friends and lovers if he did not always keep them around, in a flood of films and plays.
If he had lived, and worked at the same rate, he would have made 80 films by now. Perhaps no one could have kept up that pace.
He might have kept up the quality, however; it is sobering to think how much we lost when he died alone in that sad locked room. Next Article: Rossellini book explains haunting nude scene Previous Article: How movies will be affected. This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr Print Page Tweet In the s Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a familiar presence at film festivals, invariably clad in black leather, a cigarette always in his hand, a scraggly mustache drooping over lips that seemed curled in constant ironic amusement.
Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger? Roger Ebert This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland.
- Rainer Werner Fassbinder movie reviews & film summaries | Roger Ebert.
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Popular Reviews Rambo: Last Blood. Straight after Whity , he made a film called Beware of a Holy Whore about a film crew making a western not unlike Whity under the control of an arsehole film director who is a Fassbinder surrogate down to his tatty leather jacket. It also demonstrated a more confident filmmaker, interested in aesthetics and drawing the Hollywood films he so loved as a youth.
In particular, he developed a fascination with the work of Douglas Sirk, a German-born director who fled to America to escape Hitler, best known for ostensibly glossy melodramas whose Technicolor veneer concealed emotional turmoil. Both are stories of a love affair that upsets polite society; in All That Heaven Allows , wealthy widow Jane Wyman scandalises her well-to-do social circle by taking up with her gardener Rock Hudson.
Worse, he had mental health issues, problems exacerbated by the drinking and drugging of the Fassbinder circle. These problems often erupted into violence. Tired of the endless drama, Fassbinder ended things. Salem moved to Berlin and drank heavily; one night at a bar, he got into an altercation and stabbed three men, not fatally.
Salem continued to drink, and stabbed someone else, only this time he was jailed. Unable to take much more, he hung himself. Professionally, things were less awkward. They broke up soon after the completion of Maria Braun , whereupon the devastated Meier killed himself in the flat they had once shared. Plunged into suicidal depression himself, the director sought refuge in his work. In A Year of 13 Moons was the last time Fassbinder splayed himself across the screen so completely. Other work would follow, including some that rank among his best, but they would be less confrontational and certainly less confessional.
His personal life became more settled too: he married again, to a young editor called Juliane Lorenz, and there seemed a new equilibrium in his life. Newly-restored and recently released in a bells-and-whistles Blu Ray edition, Berlin Alexanderplatz is one of the landmarks of European television, following an ex-con as he tries to go straight with limited success. He even planned to fulfil his long-time ambition of making a Hollywood movie and began spending more time in America; his fellow German director Wim Wenders had already made the leap, although he was having difficulties — he was making a film called Hammett for Francis Ford Coppola, who was being difficult.
One night an awards ceremony in Los Angeles, where Coppola was holding court, Wenders poured out his problems to Fassbinder. But — just as Coppola remained unmolested — Fassbinder never did work in Hollywood. He died in , leaving a huge void in film culture. He can seem like a challenging figure, and not just for his daunting filmography: his often repellent behaviour is even more conspicuous in this era of MeToo.
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder: 10 essential films | BFI
Rainer Werner Fassbiner's extreme behaviour means he left a challenging legacy. But, as a recent re-release of perhaps his finest project shows, he also left an impressive body of work. Email this article to a friend To send a link to this page you must be logged in. Become a Supporter The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder with Hanna Chyllga in The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. Margrit Carstensten and Hanna Schygulla. In A Year Of 13 Moons. The Marriage of Maria Braun poster.
Fassbinder films capture a frantic life's desperation
Marriage of Maria Braun, , Hanna Schygulla. Angst Essen Seele Auf. Become a supporter. You've seen the news, now discover the story The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life. Boris Johnson called on to resign if he can't answer conflict of interest allegations. Corbyn keeps his head in the sand as his Brexit stance continues to be questioned.
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