One of the highpoints of 2016 for the Fassbinder Foundation has been the euphoric reception of the RWF retrospective presented in November by the Goethe Institute in Beijing as part of the 4th Festival of German Film. The Fassbinder section of the festival comprised Annekatrin Hendel’s documentary FASSBINDER, a number of the director’s own films and a master class with FF president Juliane Maria Lorenz. What we did not expect was the intense interest of the Chinese press. Fassbinder was not an unknown quantity prior to this in China. Several years ago a series of his films was screened in Beijing, and since then interest in his work has increased. On the opening day of the retrospective one of Beijing’s largest daily newspapers reported on the event under the title: “The Germans still love Fassbinder.”
The next festival is just around the corner. It was recently announced that at the coming the Berlin Film Festival the restored version of Fassbinder television series EIGHT HOURS ARE NOT A DAY will have its world premiere. The series has not been shown for over 20 years and could not be brought out on DVD due to unresolved rights issues. That is now history. The series is scheduled for a DVD and Blu-ray release by Studiocanal – which will include a documentary titled ACHT STUNDEN SIND KEIN TAG: EINE SERIE WIRD ZUM FAMILIENTREFFPUNKT (Eight Hours Are Not a Day: A series becomes a family venue). The 2017 Berlin Film Festival will take place from 9 till 19 February. The festival press release is available at:
The restoration of EIGHT HOURS ARE NOT A DAY along with the strictly defined concept of authorship associated with New German Cinema and the profession of the film editor are all subjects discussed by Juliane Maria Lorenz with the RBB journalist Petra Castell in a radio program available in the broadcaster’s mediathek:
In 1983 the American sculptor Richard Serra produced a sculpture titled “Fassbinder” for the Westphalian State Museum. At the end of November the work, which is composed of three large steel plates joined to form a U, was installed as a permanent exhibition in the courtyard of the Bible Museum at the University of Münster. The Swiss culture magazine “Du” once wrote of the work: “For Serra the formal character of the sculpture – which seeks confrontation rather than harmonization through its refractory, reduced form, oppressive heaviness and expression of immovability – reflects the essence of the Fassbinder’s personality and art.” More information about the work and its location can be found at: http://www.muenster-journal.de/2016/11/richard-serras-fassbinder-hat-ein-neues-zuhause/
One year before Fassbinder shot his first feature-length film, May Spils scored a hit with her directorial debut ZUR SACHE, SCHÄTZCHEN. Laid back and full of humor the film centers around the encounter between a charming lay-about (Werner Enke) and a young woman (Uschi Glas) who helps him out of a jam. At the time it showed that New German Cinema was also capable of commercial success. Currently, the Pasinger factory in Munich, in collaboration with Schamoni Film & Medien GmbH, is presenting an exhibition featuring “original productions documents, different script versions, black-and-white photographs of the shoot and the set, and original posters. A historical cutting room has been built, equipped with an old Steenbeck cutting table. The original ARRI camera is on display and part of the set has been reconstructed.” More information on the exhibition is available at: http://pasinger-fabrik.com/de/ausstellungen/aktuell/detailansicht-aktuell-programm-pasinger-fabrik/cal/event/detail/2016/12/01/zur_sache_schaetzchen_ausstellung/view-list%7Cpage_id-66.html
The Centre Pompidou is currently hosting a comprehensive retrospective of the films of João Pedro Rodrigues (for more information see: http://www.festival-automne.com/en/edition-2016/joao-pedro-rodrigues-integrale). For many years now the director has numbered among the most exciting and distinctive voices in international cinema. His latest film, THE ORNITHOLOGIST – a playful and autobiographically informed riff on the life of St. Anthony of Padua – was screened in competition at the Locarno Film Festival in summer. With its artificial aesthetic and elements drawn from classical melodrama, Rodrigues’ work recalls that of Fassbinder. His film TO DIE LIKE A MAN could even be seen as a loose remake of IN A YEAR OF 13 MOONS. A couple of years ago the director and his frequent collaborator João Rui Guerra da Mata were invited to take part in the Berlin film and discussion series “Hands on Fassbinder,” where the director spoke about the influence of RWF on his work.
Although the film perspective in Paris ends on 18 December, an installation designed by Rodrigues with da Mata will be on show until 2 January. In addition, a book titled “Le Jardin des fauves” has just been published (in French) that contains several discussions between Rodrigues and the filmmaker Antoine Barraud. The book can be purchased, perhaps as a Christmas gift, on the website: http://www.post-editions.fr/LE-JARDIN-DES-FAUVES.html
We will be back in January with more news from the world of Rainer Werner Fasssbinder, but for now we would like to wish our friends and readers a pleasant and relaxing holiday and a very happy New Year.
More on the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder:
Photo left: scene from EIGHT HOURS ARE NOT A DAY © Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
Photo right: scene from TO DIE LIKE A MAN © Salzgeber