Daniel Schmid1971-1980ArthouseDramaGermany

Daniel Schmid – Schatten der Engel AKA Shadow of Angels (1976)

Schatten der Engel (1976)
Schatten der Engel (1976)

One of the most controversial productions by the late German writer-director Rainer Werner Fassbinder was his stage play The Garbage, the City and Death; when he sought to film the play in Germany, Fassbinder was denied state funds on the basis of a charge of anti-Semitic content. Swiss filmmaker Daniel Schmid, a film-school colleague and longtime friend of Fassbinder’s, undertook the project in 1976, employing Fassbinder’s now-familiar repertory company including Fassbinder and his then-wife Ingrid Caven. Set amid the Frankfurt lowlife–prostitutes, pimps, sadistic police and perverted businessmen–the story concerns a streetwalker (Caven) who is reportedly too chic for her own good and can’t make a go of it among her only available clientele. She is brutalized by her pimp (portrayed by a very slim Fassbinder), who continues to send her out on the streets while he indulges his preference for men. Luck comes her way in the form of a Jewish businessman (Klaus Lowitsch); he hires her only to listen to him talk and, occasionally, pose as his bride in the murky nocturnal street scene.

This character, referred to simply as “the rich Jew,” is the center of the controversy surrounding both the play and the film. American critics have responded in a somewhat more favorable light to the character, Jim Hoberman (Village Voice) noting, “Making Frankfurt’s ace capitalist a Jew is aggressively tasteless but not, I think, anti-Semitic…Lowitsch is neither unsympathetic nor racially stereotyped.” His viewpoint concurs more or less with that of the director, Daniel Schmid, who notes, “For us, Shadow of Angels was a film about a Germany where no one is starving and no one is scared anymore, and the only two people who are still sensitive are the prostitute and the Jew, because both of them are outcasts.”

Shadow of Angels is as provocative as one might expect from Fassbinder; it is not a pretty picture, and it anticipates in a raw way themes which he would take up in a later, more commercial period of filmmaking, from Berlin Alexanderplatz to Lola. Schmid, whose films include La Paloma (1974), Violanta (1978) and Hecate (1982), sketches Fassbinder’s cryptic dialogue, characters and action in broad, operatic terms characteristic of his own work, sometimes jarring scenes alive with unexpected riffs of Latin music. His style adds to the generally disquieting mood of this tour of prosperity’s grotesque underside.

Schatten der Engel (1976)
Schatten der Engel (1976)
Schatten der Engel (1976)
Schatten der Engel.1976.576p.BDRip-AVC.ZONE.mkv

Container: Matroska
Runtime: 1 h 41 min
Size: 2.10 GiB
Codec: x264
Resolution: 768x576
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Frame rate: 24.000 fps
Bit rate: 2 500 kb/s
BPP: 0.235
#1: German 2.0ch FLAC @ 458 kb/s


Subtitles:Japanese, English

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