1991-2000DocumentaryGermanyHans Günther PflaumRainer Werner Fassbinder

Hans Günther Pflaum et al. – R.W. Fassbinder – Criterion Bonus Disk (1993)

This is an excellent hour-and-a-half documentary overview of Fassbinder’s career. For those new to the director, this is the perfect starting place (perhaps even before watching the films).Quote:
This lengthy film (1h:36m:32s) consists mostly of interview footage of Fassbinder’s collaborators with a few select clips from films. There’s also a good analysis of Fassbinder’s visual language here. Although one doesn’t really get a very clear sense of Fassbinder, one notion that does come across is that he was a compulsive filmmaker; unlike the others who fall into that category, such as Jess Franco and Ed Wood, however, his pictures were often very high quality despite low budgets and short shooting schedules.

Life Stories: A Conversation with R.W. Fassbinder
Life Stories is a 49-minute interview with Fassbinder, dating from 1978—apparently the longest interview he ever gave. He appears physically bloated and mentally exhausted (he keeps refilling his coffee cup), but responds candidly to questions about his childhood, brief marriage, and filmmaking style.

At first inarticulate and reluctant to talk, Fassbinder warms up a bit about 15 minutes in, though the questions become a bit irritatingly abstract and Fassbinder visually seems to be wondering where this discussion is going. One is left with the inevitable comparison to Franz Schubert, madly creating before his impending premature death. The question is unresolved, however, as to whether the creative burst was to accomplish as much as possible prior to an early death, or whether that death was brought on by the frenetic pace of work. Of course, Fassbinder’s chain smoking probably didn’t do his bad heart any good either. Except as noted, everything but the commentaries is in English-subtitled German.

An interview with Fassbinder’s cinematographer Xaver Schwarzenberger.
A second interview segment with Xaver Schwarzenberger, cinematographer for Fassbinder’s last five projects (including the last two films of the trilogy) gives some interesting insights into Fassbinder’s shooting process, backed up by behind-the-scenes footage. Fassbinder controlled the framing absolutely, but left the lighting and color filters to his cameraman, which left Schwarzenberger a good deal of room for creativity.

An interview with editor Juliane Lorenz conducted by Fassbinder scholar Laurence Kardish.
Another interview with Juliane Lorenz (32m:39s) centers expressly on Fassbinder’s editing style, frequently working without rushes but immediately editing scenes as they were filmed. She also touches on the casting of the trilogy and reveals that at one point Schygulla was intended to play all three of the women; however, when she revealed this in an interview Fassbinder flew into a rage and that was the end of that idea.

Also included: trailers for all three films in the BRD trilogy (Lola, The Marriage Of Maria Braun and Veronika Voss); caps of the DVD menu, e.g.,


Subtitles:English (.srt, .idx/.sub)


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