Occasion for celebration is already in the offing as we return from our summer break. On 22 September, Roger Fritz turns 80. It would be quicker to say what Fritz has not done during his life as an artist than to recount everything he has done. He was an assistant to Herbert List and later became a respected photographer himself. He has directed a series of uncompromising films, which, although largely forgotten today, number among the most powerful produced by the German cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. He attended acting school with Toni Sailer, Grit Boettcher and Götz George and subsequently worked as an actor with directors such as Eckhart Schmidt, Marran Gosov, Ugo Liberatore, Rudolf Thome and Sam Peckinpah. He later owned several restaurants in Munich – an aspect of his career in keeping with a filmmaker who seemed acquainted with the whole world. He was also the stills photographer on the set of QUERELLE, and most recently exhibited his striking images in 2012 in Berlin and New York, where he also spoke about his work with Fassbinder: http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/previews/roger-fritz/ EN
On 15 September the home cinema label Subkultur Entertainment released Fritz’s impressive directorial debut, MÄDCHEN MÄDCHEN, on DVD and Blu-ray. His later film MÄDCHEN MIT GEWALT (The Brutes) is also available on the same label (http://www.edition-deutsche-vita.de/edition-deutsche-vita/maedchen-maedchen-single-dvd/ EN). MÄDCHEN MÄDCHEN also features in a short season of films devoted to the Munich Group being presented by the Vienna Film Museum from 22 to 26 September. The season also includes the Straub-Huillet short film DER BRÄUTIGAM, DIE KOMÖDIANTIN UND DER ZUHÄLTER (The Bridegroom, the Actress and the Pimp), in which Fassbinder appears as an actor. The season’s program is available at: https://www.filmmuseum.at/jart/prj3/filmmuseum/main.jart?rel=de&content-id=1216720898687&schienen_id=1469618293911 DE
There will be another opportunity to see RWF in front of the camera on 30 September, when the thirty-year anniversary of the Fassbinder Foundation is being celebrated at the basiskulturfabrik in Neustrelitz in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. At 7:30 p.m. Volker Schlöndorff’s adaptation of Brecht’s BAAL will be screened, after which Juliane Maria Lorenz and Irm Hermann will speak about the film, Fassbinder and the work of the foundation. More information: http://www.basiskulturfabrik.de/kino/Filmeaktuell/BAAL.html
An equally good reason to plan a cinema outing is François Ozon‘s new film FRANTZ, which was recently screened in the competition section in Venice and will be released in German cinemas on 29 September. In his new film Ozon, who brought Fassbinder’s play “Water Drops on Burning Rocks” to the screen in 2000, enters into a fascinating dialog with cinematic history. FRANTZ is a loose remake of Ernst Lubitsch’s BROKEN LULLABY and employs Hitchcockian suspense in its tale of a mysterious Frenchman who arrives in a German village following the First World War. Ozon creates a fascinating puzzle full of deceptive flashbacks and blurred identities, which is also a subtle indictment of nationalism on both sides of the border. A trailer for the film can be viewed at:
The theater season has also begun again. Worth penciling in, for example, is Christoph Marthaler’s production of “Glaube, Liebe, Hoffnung” (Faith, Hope and Charity) at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. In Ödön von Horvárth’s pessimistic play about the decline and fall of a young woman, the well-known faces making up Marthaler’s ensemble are joined by Irm Hermann. The next performance is on 23 September and tickets are available at: http://www.schauspielhaus.de/de_DE/kalender/glaube_liebe_hoffnung.13889970 DE http://www.schauspielhaus.de/en_EN/kalender/glaube_liebe_hoffnung.13889970 EN.
At Berlin’s Schaubühne two successful productions are being restaged during the current season – Patrick Wengenroth’s Fassbinder evening “Deutschland essen Seele auf” (Germany Eats Souls) and Thomas Ostermeier’s adaptation of “The Marriage of Maria Braun.” The latter premiered at the Munich Kammerspiele in 2007 and was subsequently invited to the Theatertreffen festival in Berlin. The Schaubühne website can be found at: http://www.schaubuehne.de/ DE http://www.schaubuehne.de/en/start/index.html EN
Our curiosity has also been aroused by news of the “Fassbinder Fight Club,” which is being presented by the copy & waste theater collective at the Haus der Vielfalt in Dortmund on 23 and 24 September. The event is described as “mobile cinema in the streets of the Unionviertel district. On the buildings appear bodies, faces and stories. The soundtrack is broadcast over headphones. The old, new cinema x-rays the buildings and in the process finds a secret coherence.” No doubt you will have to be there to find out what all this means. Currently only a limited number of remaining tickets are available, which can be purchased at: http://www.favoriten2016.de/72-0-Fassbinder-Fight-Club.html DE
Hanna Schygulla is also appearing on stage again with her program “17/70 – Eine Zeitreise” (17/70 – A Journey through Time), in which she tells of her time with Fassbinder and reads early RWF poems from the collection Im Land des Apfelbaums (In the Land of the Apple Tree – SchirmerMosel Literatur). The performance will take place in the Theater am Kurfürstendamm on 24 September at 8 p.m. Tickets are available on the theater’s website: http://www.komoedie-berlin.de/produktionen/1770–eine-zeitreise.html/ID_Vorstellung=1940#inhalt DE
Whether in the cinema, the theater or elsewhere, we wish our readers and friends a wonderful beginning to the autumn and look forward to what October may bring.
More on the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder:
More on the theater plays of Rainer Werner Fassbinder:
More on Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Im Land des Apfelbaums
Photo right: Pierre Niney and Paula Beer in FRANTZ © X-Verleih