We are about to take a summer break and it seems an opportune moment to review the most important international Fassbinder events this year. The first significant event already too place in January with the US premiere of RWF’s working class series EIGHT HOURS DON’T MAKE A DAY (1972-73) at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) followed by further screenings at Film Forum and a tour through the country. In April and May, the Cinémathèque française, an institution steeped in history, presented a complete Fassbinder retrospective. And in Brisbane the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) resumed its series of Fassbinder screenings, which it began in October last year and at which this year RWFF president held a lecture about women in Fassbinder’s films.
The 31 August the next retrospective will begin, this time in the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna, which, under its new director, Michael Loebenstein, retains its commitment to the presentation of analog film material. The precise program of films comprising the retrospective, which runs until 25 October, will soon be published on the museum’s website: https://www.filmmuseum.at/en_1
Until then the museum is offering a foretaste in the form of a short excerpt from a conflict-laden public discussion with Fassbinder that followed the screening of FOX AND HIS FRIENDS (1975): https://www.filmmuseum.at/forschung__vermittlung/vermittlung/in_person_videodokumente/in_person_detail?videodokument_id=1466964478021
Annekatrin Hendel, who directed the documentary FASSBINDER (2015), a coproduction with the FF, has now made a new film. It tells of how the family of writer and director Thomas Brasch, who came from the GDR, became an arena of conflict over the correct attitude to socialism. The film opens in German cinemas on 16 August and a trailer is available at: https://vimeo.com/277414238
Also highly recommended is Neil Beloufa’s show at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt am Main, which runs from 23 August to 23 October. The French artist works with his videos and installations primarily in the exhibition context but from time to time also shoots experimental feature films. In 2016 he contributed video works to the “Welt am Draht” exhibition, which was named after Fassbinder’s two-part television film WORLD ON A WIRE and held at the Berlin branch of the Julia Stoschek Collection. In 2017 he presented his latest full-length movie, OCCIDENTAL, a witty vision of a dystopian Europe, in the Forum section of the Berlin film Festival. In interviews Beloufa often refers to the great melodrama directors, such as Douglas Sirk, Fassbinder and Pedro Almodóvar. In his own work, he too breaks away from classical realism, uses emphatically artificial settings and creates absurd situations in which he raises questions about politics, society and sexuality. More information on the exhibition can be found at: https://www.schirn.de/en/exhibitions/2018/neil_beloufa/
In conclusion, we would like to warmly congratulate Ingrid Caven, who celebrates her eightieth birthday on 3 August. She appeared in many of Fassbinder’s films, often in smaller roles – from early works such as LOVE IS COLDER THAN DEATH (1969) to later ones such as IN A YEAR OF 13 MOONS (1978). She has also worked with directors such as Jean Eustache, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, Lothar Lambert and Claire Denis, and also had a career as a chanson singer since the 1970s. She last appeared on stage, together with Helmut Berger, at Berlin’s Volksbühne in the Catalonian director Albert Serra’s production of “Liberté,” which will be made into a feature film in autumn. She can also be seen in Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s horror classic SUSPIRIA (1977), which is due for release soon.
In an interview with the journalist André Müller in 1980, Caven said of her profession: It was my way of getting noticed: as Rumpelstiltskin or a fairy or a princess. […] My sister and I would darken our room and sing to the records of Callas … Well, singing is a stretch. We screamed so loudly that the records shook.” The whole interview is available on the website of Caven’s friend Elfriede Jelinek, winner of the Nobel Prze for Literature: http://elfriedejelinek.com/andremuller/interview%20mit%20ingrid%20caven.html
Caven can also soon be seen in the cinema or on DVD in Daniel Schmid’s SHADOW OF ANGELS (1976), in which she appears together with Fassbinder. The film is one of several that are due to be restored by the RWFF.
Until we return in autumn with more news from the world of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, we would like to wish our friends and readers a restorative late summer. The Fassbinder Foundation office will open again in September.
More on the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder:
Photo left: Ingrid Caven as Lily Brest in Schatten der Engel, 1975, © RWFF
Photo right: Neil Beloufa, Néolibéral, Galerie Balice Hertling, 2015, © the artist & VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018, Photo: Aurélien Mole