Germany

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Lili Marleen [+Extras] (1981)

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1938. Willie (Hanna Schygulla) and Robert (Giancarlo Giannini) are in love: She, a minor German singer who appears in a Zurich nightclub and waits for her big breakthrough. He, son of a rich Jewish family. His father (Mel Ferrer) is the head of an organization that helps Jews flee from Nazi Germany. While he is against Robert’s relationship with a German, as he feels that this could jeopardize the work of his organization, he permits Willie to accompany Robert on a secret mission to Germany. Upon their return to Switzerland the lovers find out that Robert’s father played a cruel trick on them: Willie is not allowed back into the country. Read More »

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Nora Helmer (1974)

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Description: Fassbinder’s version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House for television develops a radical yet scrupulous reading of the play. Stripped of sentimentality and giving Nora (Carstensen) self-assurance from the start, this studio production delivers its critique of bourgeois marriage with a force rarely matched even in the theatre. The brutal prose, harshly delivered, is complemented by the unique visual spectacle which Fassbinder manages to wring from a videotape studio. Achieving effects of lighting and framing which British TV directors have never dreamed of, he makes the oppressiveness of Nora’s home as concrete as a tank-trap. Almost every scene is shot through latticework, net curtains, cut glass, ornate mirrors, so that the characters are perhaps visually obscured but always intellectually focused. All the BBC’s producers of tele-classics should be chained to chairs and forced to watch it. Read More »

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Händler der vier Jahreszeiten AKA The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972)

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Two different opinions on Händler der vier Jahreszeiten

Hans Epp (Hans Hirschmuller) betrays few traces of his eroding morale as he lyrically announces his daily merchandise into the open air. He is an unassuming fruit vendor, diligently making his rounds through the residential streets, accompanied by his highly critical wife, Irmgard (Irm Hermann). After chastising him for hand delivering an order to an ex-lover (Ingrid Caven), Hans escapes her incessant complaints by abandoning his cart and going into a nearby bar. Soon, the sad ritual of his empty existence emerges: arguing with his wife, drinking excessively, lamenting lost personal and professional opportunities. One evening, an inebriated Hans returns home and becomes physically abusive, causing Irmgard to flee to his mother’s house with their daughter (Andrea Schober). His mother (Gusti Kreissl) is a stern, unaffectionate woman who has never concealed her disappointment in Hans, and his recent violence only furthers her disdain. Only Hans’ younger sister, Anna (Hanna Schygulla), attempts to expose the family’s cruelty towards the equally wounded Hans, but to no avail. Read More »

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Bremer Freiheit AKA Bremen Freedom (1972)


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Description: The subject of this film is a true case that happened in the city of Bremen: The story of citizen Geesche Gottfried (Margit Carstensen), widowed Miltenberger, who killed 15 people, among them her mother, her father, her children, two husbands and other persons from her immediate environs, while her fellow-citizens had considered her a respectable, god-fearing woman. In the end, she was unmasked and beheaded in 1831 – the last public execution in Bremen. Bremen Freedom is not a thriller. It is not the intention of the piece to gradually unmask the culprit. Like in a ballad, the killings are arranged in a kaleidoscope. The murderer’s motive is of interest in this play, but not how she is convicted. Geesche Gottfried murders because she wants to be free and because she does not want to be one of the men’s “pets”. “This was not a life, Michael, what mother lived there. In that case, death is a blessing for someone,” says Geesche Gottfried after murdering her own mother. Read More »

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Whity (1971)

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Description: Perhaps the most iconoclastic Western ever made, Whity is simultaneously entertaining and deeply disturbing. Set in April 1878, it tells the story of the title character, who is the illegitimate son – and de facto slave – of the dissolute and “dying” patriarch Ben Nicholson and his African-American servant. But Ben is only faking his illness to test the loyalty of his wife and two demented sons. Each monumentally dysfunctional family member tries to bribe and/or seduce the bisexual Whity into murdering the others in order to claim what they think is the imminent inheritance. Read More »

Wolf Gremm – Kamikaze 1989 (1982)

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Quote:
Based on a novel by Per Wahlöö. With
Fassbinder, Günther Kaufmann, Boy Godert.
Gremm directed fellow filmmaker and longtime friend
Fassbinder in what turned out to be his last performance
before his untimely death on June 10,1982.
from imdb:
In the near future where “the combine” controls television
and news, a bomb threat brings super cop Jansen (Fassbinder)
to the combine’s headquarters. Nothing happens, but his boss
gives him four days to solve the hoax. Odd things occur: on
day one there’s a murder at the combine; vague references to
the combine’s enemy, Krysmopompas, appear; the nephew of
the combine’s boss confesses to the bomb threat, although he
didn’t do it. Jansen stays focused, interviewing employees who
received special awards (printed on the paper used for the
bomb threat). Is he onto something big or was the bomb threat
just a prank? And what is this 31st floor rumored hidden in
the 30-story combine headquarters? Read More »

Various – Deutschland im Herbst AKA Germany in Autumn [+Extras] (1978)

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Deutschland im Herbst (Fassbinder & Kluge & Reitz & Schlöndorff & al., 1978)
1h58 min. – 1,35 GB

Quote:

In 1960s and 70s Germany, as an entire generation of young people sought to orient themselves on different influences and models than their parents’ Nazi-influenced past, disenchantment and social unrest were prevalent. Despite denazification, ex-Nazis held powerful positions in government and business. Ninety-five percent of the Bundestag in the late 60s was controlled by a coalition of the SPD and CDU headed by former Nazi Party member Kurt Georg Kiesinger. Read More »