The All Purpose Rainer Werner Fassbinder thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Solaris, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight Thread Starter

    New Orleans, LA
    I've only seen a handful of Fassbinder films, but I find myself becoming more fascinated by his work. Last night I watched the Criterion blu-ray of The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and in spite of the fact that it's confined to one small set the whole time, I thought it was full of interesting ideas, and the acting was hypnotic (the long takes help in that regard).

    A few years back I bought World on a Wire before Criterion did their version. I had been curious about it because it's based on Simulacron 3, the novel that also served as a basis for the film The Thirteenth Floor. The novel was written by Dan Galouye, a New Orleans author whom a friend of mine knew. The film was 3 hours long, originally shown in two parts on German TV if I remember, but even at that length I was oddly spellbound.

    Back in the 80s I saw The Marriage of Maria Braun and Veronika Voss on cable, but I was about 15 and had no idea what I was seeing. Something about them made an impression, however, but I hadn't had the urge to rewatch them until now.

    So let's talk about Fassbinder!
  2. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight Thread Starter

    New Orleans, LA
    Bump. I know there are other Fassbinder fans here!
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  3. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Daddyland, CA
    I know this movie is almost universally hated, but I credit Prometheus with making me understand Fassbinder's depth. He stole the show with his portrayal of a sort of modern Ash (from the original Alien) who could evesdrop on the human passengers' dreams and channeled the Lawrence of Arabia character. A couple of his lines were borrowed from Lawrence and legitimately haunting. "The trick, Mr. Potter, is not minding that it hurts."
  4. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight Thread Starter

    New Orleans, LA
    Not the same person, I'm afraid. That's Michael Fassbender. I'm talking about the German director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder. :)
    kanakaris likes this.
  5. Anyone who leaves their middle name in is too lofty for me, I'm afraid. *sigh*
  6. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight Thread Starter

    New Orleans, LA
    One of us is in the wrong thread.
  7. Saintbert

    Saintbert Forum Resident

    Funny factoid I came upon once: Rainer Werner Fassbinder was named after the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, but his parents were worried a name quite as Bohemian (ahem) as Rainer would get in the way of whatever good bourgeois career he'd end up pursuing. So they added Werner to his name to give him a safer option.

    I am a great admirer of his work. I think the TV series "Berlin Alexanderplatz" is above eveything else in his (or pretty much anyone else's) oeuvre. Just a massive thing to pull off.
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  8. jwoverho

    jwoverho Licensed Drug Dealer

    Mobile, AL USA
    Undeniable talented and incredibly prolific. By the time of his death at the age of 37 , Fassbinder had completed over forty films, two television series, three short films, four video productions, and twenty-four plays.
    Berlin Alexanderplatz is probably his masterpiece, but every Criterion release is well worth your time.
  9. kanakaris

    kanakaris Forum Resident

    'Angst Essen Seele Auf' is my favourite , excellent. I don't know if this was dubbed , but very gripping in German .
  10. PlushFieldHarpy

    PlushFieldHarpy Forum Resident

    One of my top 5 favorite directors. It's hard to explain why, unlike a Kubrick or Welles. The films just pulse with a strange sort of life. My favorite? Just about all that I've seen (I've not seen them all).
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  11. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    I studied in Germany and have seen The Marriage of Maria Braun. Yet I am very deficient in my knowledge of his work. He has been on my bucket list for years.
  12. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight Thread Starter

    New Orleans, LA
    That's a great way of putting it -- pulse with a strange sort of life. Bitter Tears is talky, melodramatic and stagey, and yet I couldn't take my eyes off of it, and none of those descriptors is really a detriment here. They're part of the effect.
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  13. Saintbert

    Saintbert Forum Resident

    I think an important reason to why Fassbinder could make his characters' interactions so engaging was the family he build out of his cast and crew. He invested a lot into the characters and made you care about them, I think, no matter how absurd they or the situations they were put into were. And importantly, he put something of each actor into the character. He made actors out of many of who weren't, because he had a place for them in his stories.

    This family of his, by all accounts, wasn't a well-functioning one, and there was a lot of jealousy, manipulation and exclusion. But aren't those the ingredients of his drama? It came at a cost, but any moral scruples notwithstanding, that group of people left behind a bunch of films that belong together and benefit from being seen as parts of a whole.
    Claus LH, ralphb and Solaris like this.
  14. Barnabas Collins

    Barnabas Collins Senior Member

    Years ago, when I was majoring in Film Studies, I took a course on New German Cinema. Fassbinder was featured prominently along with Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog. At the time, my favorite was Herzog as I found a lot of Fassbinder's works really, really slow. But something clicked and I eventually saw all the Fassbinder I could get my hands on. My favorites are The Marriage of Maria Braun, The Merchant of Four Seasons, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven, Effi Briest and Why Does Herr R Run Amock? I still haven't seen Berlin Alexanderplatz yet. A lot of these films are grim and depressing so I really have to be in the right frame of mind. But if I can handle Ingmar Bergman, I guess I can handle anything....
  15. ralphb

    ralphb "First they came for..."

    Brooklyn, New York
    Berlin Alexanderplatz is a masterpiece and worth the time investment. The DVD transfer I saw was a bit off color-wise but the booklet put it down to the way it was filmed for German television. The films Barnabas mentions in the post above mine are all must sees. Bitter Tears... and Veronika Voss are faves of mine. I have to recommend In A Year With 13 Moons and Martha, they feature astonishing performances by Volker Spengler and Margit Carstensen respectively. Martha is a bit tortuous to watch due to the nature of the relationship portrayed but it's extremely powerful. Spengler is heartbreaking as a transgender woman who is adrift. You must see Fox and His Friends, my favorite after Alexanderplatz, a ruthless examination of what the friends you think you have are capable of, it features a Fassbinder in the title role.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  16. ralphb

    ralphb "First they came for..."

    Brooklyn, New York
    What's amazing about Fassbinder is his work ethic, 44 films and television programs in 15 years, and fifteen plays he directed for German theater. His appetite for work and drugs are what did him in. It's also amazing how many people in his films (both male and female) were already or eventually became his lovers, regardless of his tendency to be fairly nasty guy.. There are stories about him coming to New York and blazing a trail through as many sex clubs as he could get to. His life could be a movie.
    Other films to see:
    Love Is Colder Than Death (his homage to American gangster films with a very young Hanna Schygulla.)
    The American Soldier (another gangster film)
    The Stationmasters Wife
    Lili Marleen
  17. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is a must see.
  18. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight Thread Starter

    New Orleans, LA
    Berlin Alexanderplatz first hit my radar maybe 20 years ago when I was reading an article where directors had been asked about desert island movies. I think it was Martin Scorsese who cited BA, even though he hadn't seen it, simply because it was 15 hours long and would keep him occupied for awhile. Since then I've wanted to see it but haven't felt "ready." I think I'm there now, though.
  19. PhilJol

    PhilJol Forum Resident

    I really enjoyed World on a Wire, over 20 years later The Matrix used the same idea of an alternate computer driven world
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  20. stepeanut

    stepeanut Only the innocent can lie with conviction

    Love Fassbinder’s work. Thanks for starting this thread, which I’ve duly bookmarked.

    Below is my Fassbinder collection. There are other titles on the market, mostly on DVD, but I’m holding off for English-friendly BD editions. The Fassbinder Foundation is slowly working through his vast catalogue, remastering everything.

    The City Tramp (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    The Little Chaos (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Love Is Colder Than Death (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Katzelmacher (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Baal (Criterion Region A Blu-ray) [Acting role only]
    Beware of a Holy Whore (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    The Merchant of Four Seasons (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Tenderness of the Wolves (Arrow Region B Blu-ray) [Acting role only]
    World on a Wire (Criterion Region A Blu-ray)
    Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Effi Briest (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Fox and His Friends (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Chinese Roulette (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Despair (Park Circus Region B Blu-ray)
    The Marriage of Maria Braun (Arrow Region B Blu-ray)
    Lola (StudioCanal Region B Blu-ray)
    Querelle (Artificial Eye Region B Blu-ray)

    On preorder:

    Berlin Alexanderplatz (Second Sight Region B Blu-ray)
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  21. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    North Pole
    Fassbinder is of my favorite directors who was committed to chronicling the social history of Germany in the 20th century. And I can't say that he judged it as much as he expended an untold amount of energy in attempting show as many facets of it as he could.

    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
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  22. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    North Pole
    Picked up World On A Wire (1973) today. Not the edition with this cover (though I like it better), I have the latest CC 2 disc DVD. First time viewing tonight. Has anyone here watched it?
  23. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight Thread Starter

    New Orleans, LA
    Yep, I have that edition. I watched it with a friend who knew Daniel Galouye, the author who wrote the book this was based on (Simulacron-3). Galouye apparently never saw this adaptation of his work.

    I enjoyed it. You have to take into account that it was made for German tv in the 70s, so it's a little slow going sometimes, but the lead actor is always interesting, very intense (and was apparently drunk or hungover a lot of time while filming). It has a surreal edge to it as well, which works for the story.

    Note that it was remade as The Thirteenth Floor in 1999.
    ando here likes this.
  24. stepeanut

    stepeanut Only the innocent can lie with conviction

    I have the Criterion Blu-ray edition. Love this show. In many ways it’s a typical Fassbinder psychodrama — the sci-fi setting provides the perfect frame for Rainer to hang his paranoid story on — but the whole is so prescient that it still works today, despite the clunky technology and ‘futuristic’ sets on display. It’s a world away from his television series Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, made the year before. Fassbinder certainly had range.
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  25. stepeanut

    stepeanut Only the innocent can lie with conviction

    Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day is coming to the Criterion Collection in October:

    Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day

    For those who haven’t watched this television miniseries, I can thoroughly recommend it. Whilst recognisably Fassbinder, and dealing with many of his usual concerns, it has a lighter, warmer tone than anything else I’ve seen from him.
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