Ali (Salem), is a young Moroccan Gastarbeiter (guest worker) in his late thirties, and Emmi (Mira), a 60-year-old widowed cleaning woman. They meet when Emmi ducks inside a bar, driven by the rain and drawn by the exotic Arabic music. A woman in the bar (Katharina Herberg) suggests Ali ask Emmi to dance, and she accepts. A strange and unlikely friendship develops, then a romance and finally they decide to marry.
What follows is a bitter and noxious reaction over their relationship. Gossipy neighbors treat them with contempt, complaining their (already noticeably dilapidated) tenement building has now become filthy. Emmi is shunned by her coworkers, and Ali faces discrimination at every turn. Emmi tells her son-in-law Eugen and daughter Krista (Fassbinder himself and Irm Hermann) that she is in love with Ali; Eugen thinks she is screwy. Continue reading
Love is Colder Than Death was Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s first feature-length film (he had directed two shorts three years earlier: The Little Tramp and The Little Chaos), the story of a small-time pimp, Franz (Fassbinder), and his complicated relationship with his prostitute girlfriend, Joanna (Hanna Schygulla), and a criminal associate, Bruno (Ulli Lommel), who mysteriously and erotically enters their lives. Had the film been made at a later point in Fassbinder’s all-too brief but remarkably illustrious and prolific career, the film’s static aesthetic could have been read as a deliberate attempt on the director’s part to show his critics that his camera need not move on inch to convey the same rapturous feeling of his greater films. Except Love is Colder Than Death is not a great Fassbinder film. Continue reading
from German Postwar Films: Life and Love in the Ruins by Wilfried Wilms & William Rasch
(…) By the time Liebeneiner’s film appeared in theaters, the genre of the “returnee film” (Heimkehrerfilm) and the “rubble film” (Trümmerfilm) had become the stuff of ironic commentary. In Robert Stemmle’s Berliner Ballade (1948), the imaginary Berlin of 2048 is juxtaposed with “archival material from 1948” and a voiceover expresses the likely dismay of many in the audience: “not another Heimkehrerfilm!” And in Rudolf Jugert’s Film ohne Titel, a screenwriter, an actor, and a director debate what kind of film will attract audiences. If anti-Nazi films that explored questions of guilt were unpopular, they agreed, then the “rubble film” and the “returnee” film would certainly not fill movie houses. Once tragedy, these genres were now the subject of satire; their time had come and gone. Continue reading
Music, art and chaos in the wild West-Berlin of the 1980s. The walled-in city became the creative melting pot for sub- and pop-culture. Before the iron curtain fell, everything and anything seemed possible. B-MOVIE is a fast-paced collage of mostly unreleased film and TV footage from a frenzied but creative decade, starting with punk and ending with the Love Parade, in a city where the days are short and the nights are endless. Where it was not about long-term success, but about living for the moment – the here and now. Continue reading
Daniel, Mark, Rico, Pitbull and Paul. A group of East German friends grow up in the early 90s. The first years of reunified Germany – when everything was colliding, when everything seemed possible. From boyhood to rough-and-tumble teenagers, the Leipzig suburbs were their whole world. Daniel was in love, Rico was the greatest boxer. And Starlet was the prettiest girl they had ever known. They party, they riot, they run a techno club, run from neo-Nazis, their parents and the future. They are coming of age in a time of anarchy. Continue reading
Stars: Sten Jacobs, Anna Altmann, Jaspar Fuld, Nina Splettstößer, Stephan Bürgi, Natascha Zimmermann, Felix Witzlau, Tobias Frieben, León Delor
A haunting portrait of a well-established German family living on the outskirts of Berlin in their ideal world, but are slowly shaken by external influences.
The architect and head of the family Markus Larsen secretly lives out his bisexual tendencies while his wife Christine and their 11-year-old daughter Elisabeth drown in unbearable loneliness. When Markus gets to know the 12-year-old son of a colleague, he feels an immediate affection for the boy. Slowly, Markus begins to approach Johannes and creates an intimacy of which he increasingly loses control. While his wife and daughter are damagingly affected by their symbiotic relationship, Johannes is playing his own secret game which, in the end, leads to disaster for every family member. Continue reading
Plot Outline: Dark fairytale about a demonic doctor who abducts a beautiful opera singer with designs on transforming her into a mechanical nightingale.
To watch The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes is to enter the fabulist universe of the Brothers Quay, as unique and arcane as any imaginable. These identical twins have made some of the most original films of the last two decades, including Street of Crocodiles, selected by Terry Gilliam as one of the ten best animated films of all time. Continue reading