Rainer Werner Fassbinder HOMAGE

Above all, Rainer Werner Fassbinder (*1945-1982) was a rebel whose life and art was marked by gross contradiction. Openly homosexual, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. He completed 44 projects between 1966 and 1982, the majority of which can be characterized as highly intelligent social melodramas. His prodigious output was matched by a wild, self-destructive libertinage that earned him a reputation as the enfant terrible of the New German Cinema (as well as its central figure.) Known for his trademark leather jacket and grungy appearance, Fassbinder cruised the bar scene by night, looking for sex and drugs, yet he maintained a flawless work ethic by day. Actors and actresses recount disturbing stories of his brutality toward them, yet his pictures demonstrate his deep sensitivity to social misfits and his hatred of institutionalized violence. Some find his cinema needlessly controversial and avant-garde; others accuse him of surrendering to the Hollywood ethos. It is best said that he drew forth strong emotional reactions from all he encountered, both in his personal and professional lives, and this provocative nature can be experienced posthumously through reviewing his artistic legacy.

Fassbinder was born into a bourgeois Bavarian family in 1946. His father was a doctor and his mother a translator. In order to have time for her work, his mother frequently sent him the movies, a practice that gave birth to his obsession with the medium. Later in life, he would claim that he saw a film nearly every day and sometimes as many as three or four. Unlike the other major auteurs of the New German Cinema (e.g., Schlöndorff, Herzog and Wenders) who started out making movies, Fassbinder acquired an extensive stage background that is evident throughout his work. Additionally, he learned how to handle all phases of production, from writing and acting to direction and theater management. This versatility later surfaced in his films where, in addition to some of the aforementioned responsibilities, Fassbinder served as composer, production designer, cinematographer, producer and editor.
His death is a perfect picture of the man and his legend. On the night of June 10, 1982, Fassbinder took an overdose of cocaine and sleeping pills. When he was found, the unfinished script for a version of Rosa Luxemburg was lying next to him. So boundless was his drive and creativity that, throughout his downward spiral and even in the moment of his death, Fassbinder never ceased to be productive.

Source: www.imdb.com

The Marriage of Maria Braun

The Marriage of Maria Braun © Fassbinderfoundation.de
The Marriage of Maria Braun © Fassbinderfoundation.de
Sunday, 25 September, at 08:00 p.m.
FR-Germany 1979, 120 min. – Eng. ST
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Screenplay: Peter Märthesheimer, Pea Fröhlich, according to an idea by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Director of photography: Michael Ballhaus
Editing: Juliane Lorenz und Franz Walsch
Music: Peer Raben
Costumes: Barbara Baum
Cast: Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Löwitsch, Ivan Desny, Gottfried John, Gisela UhIen, Günter Lamprecht, George Byrd, Elisabeth Trissenaar, Isolde Barth, Peter Berling
Genre: Drama

It is World War II, and bombs are dropping all around. This is when Hermann Braun (Klaus Löwitsch) and Maria (Hanna Schygulla) get married. They have one single night together before the husband must return to the front. After the war – they say her husband died – Maria has an affair with the black G.I. Bill (George Byrd). But Hermann returns home unexpectedly from captivity. In her confrontation with husband and lover, Maria hits Bill with a bottle. He dies. Hermann pleads guilty and is sentenced to jail.
Maria meets the industrialist Oswald (Ivan Desny) and becomes an indispensable part of his life and his firm. All the time she awaits Hermann’s release. When the time comes, Hermann disappears without a trace. He resurfaces only after Oswald’s death. Maria learns about a contract between the two men: Whereas Hermann sacrifices Maria as long as Oswald lives, the latter makes the couple his heir in return. Instead of the long-awaited celebration a catastrophe happens: Maria – intentionally or not? – leaves the gas oven on, and during the 1954-radio broadcast when the German soccer team is winning the world championship, an enormous explosion destroys the house.

Source: fassbinderfoundation.de

    The Merchant of Four Seasons

    Händler der vier Jahreszeiten © Fassbinderfoundation.de
    Händler der vier Jahreszeiten © Fassbinderfoundation.de
    Tuesday, 27 September, at 10:00 p.m.
    FR-Germany 1971, 88 min. – Eng. ST
    Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    Screenplay: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    Director of photography: Dietrich Lohman
    Editing: Thea Eymèsz
    Music: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    Cast: Hans Hirschmüller, Irm Hermann, Andrea Schober, Gusti Kreissl, Klaus Löwitsch, Karl Scheydt, Hanna Schygulla, Kurt Raab, Ingrid Caven, Elga Sorbas
    Genre: Drama

    Awards:
    German Film Awards 1972: Gold for De-sign, R. W. Fassbinder; Gold for Actors, Hans Hirschmüller und Irm Hermann.

    Hans Epp (Hans Hirschmüller), ex-foreign legionnaire and ex-cop, works the courtyards with his fruit cart. Much has gone wrong in his life. He never managed to live up to his mother’s expectations, he was not allowed to marry his big love (Ingrid Caven) due to class differences. He drinks and beats his wife (Irm Hermann), who lives at his side without any love and who takes care of the child and the household.

    One day Hans Epp suffers a heart attack. After recovery he signs on Harry (Klaus Löwitsch), an old comrade from the foreign legion, as his employee. The produce trade begins to bloom. But Hans gets increasingly depressed. He cannot deal with the cold egoism that rules the world and that surrounds him. Even his sister (Hanna Schygulla), the only person who loves him, is unable to diminish the pressure that burdens him. In the presence of his wife, he drinks himself to death in his regular hangout. After the funeral, the widow and Harry get together.

    Source: fassbinderfoundation.de

      Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

      Angst essen Seele auf © Fassbinderfoundation.de
      Angst essen Seele auf © Fassbinderfoundation.de
      Thursday, 29 September, at 10:00 p.m.
      FR-Germany 1973, 89 min. – Eng. ST
      Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
      Screenplay: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
      Director of photography: Jürgen Jürges
      Editing: Thea Eymèsz
      Music: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Archivmusik
      Costumes: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
      Cast: Brigitte Mira, El Hedi Ben Salem, Barbara Valentin, Irm Hermann, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Karl Scheydt, Elma Karlowa, Anita Bucher, Gusti Kreissl, Walter Sedlmayr
      Genre: Drama

      Awards:
      Cannes Film Festival 1974: Critics Awards; nominated Palm D’Or, Rainer Werner Fassbinder
      Deutscher Filmpreis 1974: Gold beste Hauptdarstellerin, Brigitte Mira

      In a pub frequented by foreigners, the circa sixty-year old widow Emmi Kurowski (Brigitte Mira) – a cleaning lady who entered the place to get away from the rain – meets the Moroccan Ali (El Hedi Ben Salem), at least twenty years her junior. Ali dances with Emmi, they chat, he accompanies her home. He moves in with her. In the end they get married. For the others, this marriage is a scandal: Emmi’s grown children are embarrassed, the neighbors whisper, the green grocer asks her to leave his shop, the colleagues despise her.
      The pressure subsides in the end, Emmi and Ali observe their inner problems more clearly. Ali starts to see his former girlfriend Barbara (Barbara Valentin) again. When Emmi attempts to get him back and the two of them dance like at the beginning of their encounter, Ali has a breakdown. The doctor diagnoses a burst ulcer. Emmi stays with Ali, she holds his hand.

      Source: fassbinderfoundation.de

        I Only Want You to Love Me

        Ich will doch nur, dass ihr mich liebt © Bavaria Film/ Michael Ballhaus
        Ich will doch nur, dass ihr mich liebt © Bavaria Film/ Michael Ballhaus
        Friday, 30 September, at 10:00 p.m.
        FR-Germany 1976, 104 min. – Eng. ST
        Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
        Screenplay: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, based on the true story in the book „Lebenslänglich – Protokolle aus der Haft“ by Klaus Antes und Christiane Ehrhardt
        Director of photography: Michael Ballhaus
        Editing: Liesgret Schmitt-Klink
        Music: Peer Raben
        Scenic design: Kurt Raab
        Cast: Vitus Zeplichal, Elke Aberle, Alexander Allerson, Ernie Mangold, Johanna Hofer, Katharina Buchhammer, Wolfgang Hess, Armin Meier, Erika Runge, Ulrich Radke
        Genre: Drama

        This film tells the story of someone who was unable to manage his life alone because the rules he adopted were useless for survival. In addition, while his needs went unsatisfied, the world refused to acknowledge his formulation. When Peter (Vitus Zeplichal) reaches a point where he cannot continue and no longer stands on firm ground, when all is put into question what he held to be right, he freaks out. He commits the type of murder that is later classified as senseless. In fact Peter points out the senselessness he feels about life by committing an equally senseless act: He murders someone. Now the others must take care of the rest. And they do: Peter gets a ten-year sentence for manslaughter – as though this would be a method to make him a smarter person.

        Source: fassbinderfoundation.de

          DESPAIR

          DESPAIR - Eine Reise ins Licht © Bavaria Media
          DESPAIR - Eine Reise ins Licht © Bavaria Media
          Saturday, 01 October, at 10:00 p.m.
          FR-Germany 1978, 119 min. – Eng. ST
          Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
          Screenplay: Tom Stoppard
          Director of photography: Michael Ballhaus
          Editing: Juliane Maria Lorenz
          Music: Peer Raben
          Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Andréa Ferréol, Klaus Löwitsch, Volker Spengler, Peter Kern, Alexander Allerson, Gottfried John, Hark Bohm, Bernhard Wicki, Adrian Hoven
          Genre: Drama

          Awards:
          Cannes Film Festival 1978: Nominated Palme d'Or, Rainer Werner Fassbinder
          German Film Awards 1978: Gold Best Direction, Rainer Werner Fassbinder; Best Cinematography, Michael Ballhaus; Best Production Design, Rolf Zehetbauer

          Germany in the early 1930s. Against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise, Hermann Hermann, a Russian émigré and chocolate magnate, goes slowly mad. It begins with his seating himself in a chair to observe himself making love to his wife, Lydia, a zaftig empty-headed siren who is also sleeping with her cousin. Hermann is soon given to intemperate outbursts at his workers, other businessmen, and strangers. Then, he meets Felix, an itinerant laborer, whom he delusionally believes looks exactly like himself. Armed with a new life insurance policy, he hatches an elaborate plot in the belief it will free him of all his worries.

          Source: imdb.com

            German Film Week

            From September 22nd till October 2nd you can discover twelve award-winning new German feature films with English subtitles.