The Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris and its audience were looking forward to a spring of new buds and reopened theaters. Falk Richter’s play “Je suis Fassbinder” was scheduled to run there for three weeks in a production by Stanislas Nordey starting on 5 April. However, currently the French capital is also suffering from rising Corona infections and planned performances have had to be cancelled. We are of course crossing our fingers that this situation can be remedied soon. The theater’s website can be consulted for the latest information: https://www.theatredurondpoint.fr/
A little patience is also required in Berlin, where, once it reopens, the Zeughauskino plans to screen a retrospective of the films of Ulli Lommel. After a brief but successful career in the German mainstream cinema of the 1960s, Lommel appeared in several of Fassbinder’s films – including LOVE IS COLDER THAN DEATH (1969) and WHITY (1971). From 1971 onwards, he occupied the director’s chair himself. Early films in his directorial career, such as THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES (1973) and ADOLF AND MARLENE (1977), were produced by Fassbinder.
After moving to the USA, Lommel shot a series of mostly low-budget genre and exploitation films at a breathtaking pace, which after the turn of the millennium were for the most part only released on the video market. His most well-known films as a director include the paranormal horror film THE BOOGEY MAN (1980), the punk drama BLANK GENERATION (1980), which featured the musician Richard Hell and Andy Warhol, and DANIEL – DER ZAUBERER (2004), a musical drama film about the casting show contestant Daniel Küblböck. The Berlin retrospective brings together highlights from almost all phases of the director’s career,” and many of the films will be presented as “rare analog copies and cinema premieres.” More information can be found at: https://www.dhm.de/zeughauskino/filmreihe/ulli-lommel/
The death of screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, who continued writing until the end of his life, is a great loss for European cinema. He worked with the directors Louis Malle, Andrzej Wajda, Marco Ferreri, Jean-Luc Godard and, several times, with Luis Buñuel. His six collaborations with Buñuel are described by Fritz Göttler in his obituary as “the creations of a free imagination, subversive, iconoclastic, sensual,” and the films he made with Volker Schlöndorff as “magically open and tremendously poetic.” The entire obituary can be read at: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/carriere-kino-nachruf-1.5200881
Carrière was also in a relationship with actress Hanna Schygulla for 13 years, wrote the scripts for several of her films, and composed texts for her chansons. Until the end of August, Philippe Garrel’s L’AMANT D’UN JOUR (Lover for a Day), one of Carrière’s last scripts, can be viewed in the online media archive of TV broadcaster ARTE: https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/083238-000-A/liebhaber-fuer-einen-tag/ (DE)
On 12 December Jürgen Jürges celebrated his eightieth birthday, and we would like to warmly congratulate him belatedly on reaching this milestone. Jürges was the cameraman on four of Fassbinder’s films, including ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL (1974) and SATAN’S BREW (1976). He later worked with, among others, Roland Klick, Andreas Kleinert, Michael Haneke and Wim Wenders. It was only last year that he was honored at the Berlin Film Festival for his work on Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s controversial DAU project.
In an interview with the internet film portal Filmdienst, Jürges explained that light was for him the most important aspect of shooting a film: “It is the aspect that is least noticed. […] That was the case with Fassbinder: He was in charge of everything else, but when it came to light […] then I had room to maneuver.” Jürges described dealing with different lighting conditions as an “exciting puzzle that always needs to be solved anew.” The entire interview can be read at: https://www.filmdienst.de/artikel/45436/portrat-jurgen-jurges
As a way of getting through the time until the cinemas reopen, we would like to recommend a streaming option. Amazon Prime is now offering a large selection of Fassbinder’s films. Classics such as MERCHANT OF FOUR SEASONS (1972) and MARTHA (1974) can be viewed for 3.99 euros each, as can less well-known films such as THE NIKLASHAUSEN JOURNEY (1971) and FEAR OF FEAR (1975), as well as Christian Braad Thomsen’s documentary FASSBINDER – TO LOVE WITHOUT DEMANDS (2015). An overview of all the available titles can be found at:
We wish our readers and friends Happy Easter, good health and a prompt loosening of restrictions. We will be back again soon with more news from the world of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
More on the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder:
Photo on the left: Barbara Valentin and El Hedi Ben Salem in ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL © RWFF
Photo on the right: Ulli Lommel and Rainer Werner Fassbinder in LOVE IS COLDER THAN DEATH © RWFF