It was a great pleasure for me to see WORLD ON
A WIRE again, and I hope that many viewers will be able to see the restored,
digital version in the future. Oddly enough, like so many other things, our
reality has almost surpassed the futurist scenario depicted in SIMULACRON-3.
However, we must stress, “Almost surpassed, ” because—as is the case with all
good science fiction—a visionary element remains that will never be caught-up
with, surpassed, or seem antiquated.
Instead of an expertise
Rainer Werner Fassbinder and the equally
young, congenial Michael Ballhaus anticipated the aesthetic and the associative
editing known from such serials as CSI. Ballhaus’s famous 360-degree tracking
shots are performed here with virtuosity long before he encircled Michelle
Pfeiffer in the BAKER BOYS. The timeless clarity of the images evokes
comic-book impressions, comparable to contemporary Op- and Pop-Art painting.
The stylized acting of the “usual suspects” of
Fassbinder’s gang makes the affinity to fine arts even more obvious: The
dominant power is Klaus Löwitsch with his juvenile energy, but the other actors
are no less noteworthy. Among them Kurt Raab, Günter Lamprecht, who later
became Biberkopf in BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ, Gottfried John, Karl-Heinz Vosgerau,
and especially Walter Sedlmayr. This is also a rediscovery of some of the
German film stars from the 1950s, such as Adrian Hoven and Ivan Desny. Sadly,
the Young German Film (including myself) usually neglected them. Appearances of
great actresses include Margit Carstensen, Mascha Rabben and Katrin Schaake.
What turns this film into a unique time document is the presence of such
personalities as Werner Schroeter, Eddie Constantine, Karsten Peters (AZ),
Rainer Langhans, Doris Mattes, Christine Kaufmann and many others. Fassbinder
portrayed them all in the most loving and merciless ways.
These days we watch reruns of DERRICK and DER
ALTE every night. It is a good thing to remember that Fassbinder will forever
be ahead of these serials because he turned the trivial into art.
January 27, 2009