Since 1977 Deutches Haus in New York has been promoting intercultural dialog. Located in historic Greenwich Village, the institution continues to offer a range of language courses, caters to children with special events, and of course sees itself as a platform for art from German-speaking countries – which can take the form of exhibitions, readings or film seasons. Since 2014 the institution has been headed by Juliane Camfield, who is also a member of the board of The Fassbinder Foundation Inc. in New York, an independent, non-profit subsidiary of the RWFF.
On 29 January Deutsches Haus is hosting a panel discussion on Fassbinder’s five-part television series EIGHT HOURS DON’T MAKE A DAY. Along with RWFF president Juliane Maria Lorenz the panel includes Laurence Kardish, the former senior curator with the MoMA film department, and film scholar Thomas Elsaesser, author of the standard English-language work “Fassbinder’s Germany” (the German translation was published by Bertz + Fischer Verlag: http://www.bertz-fischer.de/rainerwernerfassbinder.html)
The US premiere of the series was held at MoMA on 20 January, and March will see the start of a cinema tour through the entire country. For everyone else in the English-speaking world, the Criterion Collection will be issuing a further high-quality DVD and Blu-ray edition of EIGHT HOURS DON’T MAKE A DAY – adding to the edition already released in the UK by Arrow Films in September 2017.
Interesting things are also happening Berlin. In February the Catalonian director Albert Serra will present his first German-language theatre piece at the Volksbühne. After focusing on the demise of the Sun King in his last film, THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV, Serra’s new project conjures up a utopian eighteenth century, in which a group of French free thinkers aims to import libertinage to Germany. The cast includes Ingrid Caven and Helmut Berger. The premiere is on 22 February, and tickets and information are available on the theater’s website: https://www.volksbuehne.berlin/en/programm/790/liberte/2640
The Volksbühne is also using this opportunity to screen Serra’s 101-hour film THREE LITTLE PIGS on the building’s third floor. Made for documenta 13, the film reflects on Europe and its cultural identity, drawing on Goethe, Hitler and Fassbinder. The soliloquizing RWF is played by the artist Judith Groth and appears towards the end of the mammoth film. Dates of screenings and tickets are available at: https://www.volksbuehne.berlin/en/programm/2602/three-little-pigs
January saw the book presentation of Falk Richter’s “Ich bin Europa” at Berlin’s Maxim Gorki Theater, which included readings from “Je suis Fassbinder” and a re-enactment of the famous kitchen scene from GERMANY IN AUTUMN – with Ersan Mondtag as RWF and the author himself as Fassbinder’s mother. From the end of January Richter’s production of Elfriede Jelinek’s Trump play, “Am Königsweg” is being performed in Hamburg. Dates and tickets are available at: https://www.schauspielhaus.de/en_EN/kalender/am_koenigsweg.14820289
Finally another film tip: On 18 January François Ozon’s new film, THE DOUBLE LOVER, opened in Germany. The French director is known as a passionate Fassbinder fan (as shown by his appreciation: https://www.welt.de/kultur/article931067/Mein-Vorbild-Rainer-Werner-Fassbinder.html) and in 2000 adapted RWF’s play “Water Drops on Burning Rocks” for the screen. His new project is quite different: a psychosexually charged thriller in the tradition of Brian De Palma. Based on a story by Joyce Carol Oates, the film tells of a young woman who visits a psychiatrist and in the process encounters a mysterious pair of twins. A trailer for the film is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqVGWGG9J5Y
Photo left: EIGHT HOURS DON’T MAKE A DAY © Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
Photo right: THE DOUBLE LOVER © Weltkino Verleih