Since the end of last year the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has been featuring guest contributions exploring the issue of film heritage management. Now RWFF president Juliane Maria Lorenz has contributed a text in which she writes about her experiences with the restoration of Fassbinder’s films. Among other things, she points out that the digital safeguarding of old films is becoming problematic because the technology involved is changing so quickly. The best long-term solution, she argues, is still the creation of copies on 35mm film. The essay also deals with the limitations of current funding strategies and the desire for a new funding model that includes sponsors and television broadcasters. Finally the RWFF president suggests how a kind of pension funding scheme for the country’s film heritage could be organized. The entire text can be read in English on our website soon. The entire text can be read in German at: http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/kino/kulturerbe-kino-und-die-probleme-der-digitalisierung-15161619.html
At the beginning of the year the same series in the FAZ featured a text by Alexander Horwarth, who for many years has been the director of the Austrian Film Museum (see: http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/kino/diskussion-um-rettung-des-filmerbes-in-deutschland-14943602.html). Under Horwarth’s leadership this institution has become one the most multifaceted film museums in the world, with a wide-ranging program extending from genre cinema to experimental films. Horwarth is known for his refusal to compromise when it comes to screening films in their original analog versions rather than as digital copies.
Horwarth’s as of director comes to an end this autumn, and to mark his departure the museum is, among other things, holding a retrospective dedicated to American director Todd Haynes. Our newsletters have often referred to the fact that Haynes is not only an admirer of Fassbinder and Douglas Sirk but has also continued the tradition they represent with his self-reflexive melodramas. The film museum is now offering cinema fans the opportunity (again) to discover Todd Haynes’ complete works – which range from THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY, an early short film made with Barbie dolls, to his latest work, WONDERSTRUCK, which had its world premiere this year at Cannes. In addition, on 30 September, the director will hold a master class. The entire program is available at: https://www.filmmuseum.at/jart/prj3/filmmuseum/main.jart?rel=en&content-id=1219068743272&schienen_id=1501610899342
On 31 July the world had to say its final farewell to Jeanne Moreau. She was indisputably one of the greatest actresses in European cinema. The list of her roles is like a foray through the history of auteur cinema and includes work with directors such as Jacques Becker, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jacques Demy, Louis Malle, John Frankenheimer, Tony Richardson, François Truffaut – and Fassbinder. In 1982 she gave her final film performance in QUERELLE. She later said, “My work with Fassbinder was extraordinary, because we hardly spoke to one another.” In a sense this adds even more significance to the song she performs in QUERELLE, “Each Man Kill the Thing He Loves,” a minimalistic piece written by Peer Raben and based on a quote from Oscar Wilde.
Moreau had a positive, combative attitude to the process of aging and death. In 2010 she said in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “In two years I will be 80. I have been shooting films for nearly 60 years: And I should be afraid of death? No, my dear! Death does not scare me anymore.” The fact that she remained relevant as an actress well into old age was in no small measure due to her determination always to look forward. In the same interview, when asked if mourned the passing of the French New Wave, she answered: “When you reach my age, you have read in the papers at least 20 times: ‘Cinema is dying! Cinema is dying!’ It’s boring, appalling. In fact cinema today is more alive, multifaceted and engaged than it ever was.” The complete interview is available at: http://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/im-gespraech-jeanne-moreau-ich-habe-mich-leidenschaftlich-ins-leben-gestuerzt-1.429474
QUERELLE, and many other films by and with Fassbinder are being screened this autumn at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane. This first extensive Fassbinder retrospective in Australia will be divided into two parts: from 14 October to 15 November 2017 and from 1 June to 4 July 2018. A particular positive aspect of this program is the fact that it really is open to everybody, because all films are being shown for free. The program can be found at: https://www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/whats-on/cinema/programs/rainer-werner-fassbinder
Finally, we would also like to congratulate Hanna Schygulla. On 22 September she will receive the German Actors’ Award for her life’s work. With the award, the German Actors’ Federation (BFFS) is honoring “paradigms that have helped develop acting as an art, which remain a particular and enduring source of inspiration, and represent a cultural asset for German film and the art of acting.” Hanna Schygulla worked on a number of stage productions and 20 films with Fassbinder.
We wish our readers and friends a pleasant start to autumn and will return in October with more news from the world of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
More on the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder:
Photo: VELVET GOLDMINE by Todd Haynes © Österreichisches Filmmuseum