The long wait is almost over. Eva Mattes’ spectacular farewell to her long-running role as police superintendent Klara Blum in the series Tatort is finally coming to German TV screens. The episode, titled WOFÜR ES SICH ZU LEBEN LOHNT (What is worth living for), is like a class reunion for great Fassbinder actresses. Hanna Schygulla, Irm Hermann and Margit Carstensen play characters who share both a house and an ideology dedicated to bettering the world by radical means. The episode has already been previewed at the Hof International Film Festival, where director Aerlun Goette and her team were enthusiastically received by the audience. On Sunday, 4 December the episode will be shown on German television’s ARD network. (For more information see: http://www.daserste.de/unterhaltung/krimi/tatort/sendung/wofuer-es-sich-zu-leben-lohnt-100.html )
In our September newsletter we congratulated Roger Fritz on his eightieth birthday. A celebrated director and actor, Fritz is also renowned for his photography, and examples of his work will be on show until 10 December at the Munich showroom of Schirmer/Mosel Publishers. Several of the photos featured in the exhibition – aptly titled “Photographs of Famous Contemporaries” – were taken during the shooting of Fassbinder films, including BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ, LOLA and QUERELLE. They include shots of Andy Warhol visiting a Fassbinder set, Mario Adorf with bedroom eyes lingering at a urinal, Barbara Sukowa in a coquettish pose, and of course Fassbinder himself. Anyone looking for an exclusive Christmas gift can purchase one of the digital prints on show. A list of all the exhibits is available at: http://www.schirmer-mosel.de/deutsch/pdf/AB_Roger-Fritz.pdf
In January the Austrian actress Erni Mangold will celebrate her ninetieth birthday. Her filmography, which extends from the 1940s until the present, is as eclectic as it is comprehensive and includes Kurt Nachmann’s musical comedy film KINDERARZT DR. FRÖHLICH, Rolf Olsen’s action thriller WENN ES NACHT WIRD AUF DER REEPERBAHN, Josef von Báky’s romantic comedy STURM IM WASSERGLAS and Richard Linklater’s BEFORE SUNRISE. The more recent phase of Mangold’s career has been notable for her refusal to be satisfied with the stereotypical roles normally offered to a woman in old age. In Houchang Allahyari’s DER LETZTE TANZ she plays an Alzheimer’s patient who begins a sexual affair with a community-service worker, and in Dominik Graf’s Tatort episode AUS DER TIEFE DER ZEIT she puts the fear of God into those around her as a trigger-happy, former circus performer.
Mangold’s ninetieth is being marked by the publication of a new, expanded edition of her autobiography “Lassen Sie mich in Ruhe: Erinnerungen” (Get Off My Back: Recollections). In the book she recounts, among other things, a bizarre incident that took place on the set of Fassbinder’s I ONLY WANT YOU TO LOVE ME – in a chapter with the promising title “Erni ‘Bronson’ – trading blows with Rainer Werner Fassbinder.” Elsewhere in the book she expresses her admiration for the director: “Sometimes it’s the cinematographer who makes the film and the director just fits in. But Fassbinder was a director who plotted each frame in his mind before shooting. He would stand on the set, taking everything in, and then say to the cinematographer, ‘You have to move two millimeters to the left.’ Think about that! He’d already plotted the scene in his mind in absolute detail!” The book can be purchased (in German) at: http://www.amalthea.at/index.php?id=10&showBookNr=8608
The German Film Fest is touring Australia till 30 November, showing a selection of current German films by directors such as Fatih Akin, Maren Ade, Akiz und Wim Wenders. In addition, on 22 November in Sydney and the following day in Melbourne a Fassbinder double feature is being screened, comprising Annekatrin Hendel’s documentary FASSBINDER, which was coproduced by the RWFF, and RWF’s Sirk homage FEAR EATS THE SOUL (the complete festival program is available at: http://www.goethe.de/ins/au/lp/prj/fgf/fil/enindex.htm ). Parallel to the festival, the Goethe Institute in Melbourne is showing an exhibition of posters from Fassbinder films, which will run until 15 December (for more information see:
The independent home cinema label Film Movement Classics has just released a 4K restoration of Wolf Gremm’s science fiction film KAMIKAZE 1989 on DVD and Blu-ray. This new edition was partly financed via the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. Fassbinder appears in the film in his last role, as the eccentric police lieutenant Jansen, whose trademark is his leopard-skin suit. The edition is recommended not least due to its striking cover. (For more information see the label’s homepage: http://www.filmmovement.com/libraries/index.asp?MerchandiseID=492 ).
Comments by Werner Herzog about his contemporary Fassbinder have often been ambivalent. He has referred to Fassbinder as a “petty bourgeois who played with revolutionary ideas” yet also, approvingly, as a “wild boar” and has admitted that the two directors “liked each other in a very cautious way.” Herzog, who has lived in the USA for many years, is currently more active than ever, shooting one film after another and enjoying a strong media presence. For 90 dollars, aspiring filmmakers can even take a video master class with the director on the internet. The goal set by Herzog for his students is a typically ambitious one: “By the end, you’ll make uncompromising films.” The website can be found at: https://www.masterclass.com/classes/werner-herzog-teaches-filmmaking
Several possibilities are currently available for those who prefer watching Herzog’s own uncompromising films. The streaming portal Netflix recently released his documentary INTO THE INFERNO (https://www.netflix.com/de/title/80066073 DE, https://www.netflix.com/de-en/title/80066073 ), and at the end of November his new film, LO AND BEHOLD: REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD, is being released in German cinemas (for a trailer see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc1tZ8JsZvg ). On 8 December Herzog’s feature film SALT AND FIRE (trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s5N4fupIZE) will also be released in cinemas.
Whether our readers wish to spend the late autumn with or without Werner Herzog, we wish them all the best. We will be back in December with more news from the world of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
More on the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder:
Photo left: Hanna Schygulla and Eva Mattes in WOFÜR ES SICH ZU LEBEN LOHNT © Das Erste
Photo rights: Cover of the DVD and Blu-ray of KAMIKAZE 1989 © Film Movement Classics