Rainer Werner Fassbinder was born 77 years ago today. And in less than two weeks, on 10 June, it will be the 40th anniversary of his death. To mark the occasion, the Fassbindertage association is organizing a marathon screening of BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ (1980) at Munich’s Monopol Kino from 10-12 June. A detailed screening schedule and tickets are available on the cinema’s website: https://www.monopol-kino.de/de/berlin-alexanderplatz-marathon DE
The series of screenings will be attending by a number of special guests, with whom there will be discussions between the episodes. They include the actors Elisabeth Trissenaar and Harry Baer, the cinematographer and director Xaver Schwarzenberger, and RWFF President Juliane Lorenz-Wehling. In conjunction with this event, the mim Raum für Kultur gallery (Hans-Sachs-Strasse 15) is showing a photo exhibition entitled “Fassbinder’s Women.”
On 24 June, the Lolas will once again be awarded as part of the German Film Awards. This year the honorary prize will be presented to cinematographer Jürgen Jürges. In addition to Fassbinder works such as FONTANE EFFI BRIEST (1974) and SATAN’S BREW (1976), he has also shot films for Michael Haneke, Roland Klick, Helma Sanders-Brahms and Ulli Lommel, and, most recently, worked on Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s DAU project. On its website, the German Film Academy describes Jürges as a person with “great sensitivity, who looks deep into the human soul and makes this experience tangible in his images.”
A studio interview with Michael Ballhaus (1935-2017), another of Fassbinder’s cinematographers, is currently available in the online media library of the broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk. In the interview, recorded in 2010, Ballhaus talks about his bumpy start with RWF. A second choice as director of photography for WHITY (1971), he travelled at short notice to Almería in Spain, where the director initially referred to him as a “TV twerp.”
Over time, however, a long and very fruitful collaboration developed between the two. In the interview, the cinematographer recalls in particular their work on MARTHA (1974), which was shot with a single focal length. Ballhaus was also supposed to shoot BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ, but because of disagreements he shot DEAR MR. WONDERFUL (1982) with Peter Lilienthal in the USA instead. It was the beginning of Ballhaus’s Hollywood career. (The interview is available at: https://www.br.de/mediathek/video/alpha-forum-michael-ballhaus-director-of-photography-av:585d9e003e2f290012942d77 DE)
The 75th Cannes Film Festival has just ended, and among the films in competition there was Albert Serra’s latest work. In 2012, the Catalan director had Fassbinder appear as a film character in his mammoth installation THREE LITTLE PIGS, and in 2018 Ingrid Caven joined the cast of his libertinage comedy Liberté at Berlin’s Volksbühne. PACIFICTION, which was screened on the Croisette in Cannes, revolves around a diplomat in Tahiti and nuclear weapons testing by the French government.
The Cannes Directors’ Fortnight program this year included a new work by director João Pedro Rodrigues. FOGO-FÁTUO is an experimental mix of musical and science fiction set in the future about a king who wants to become a fireman. Rodrigues’ TO DIE LIKE A MAN (2009) about a transsexual nightclub diva has several parallels to RWF’s IN A YEAR WITH 13 MOONS (1978).
The Portuguese director once said of Fassbinder: “[H]e re-imagined Hollywood genres in many of his films in much the same way [that] I try to re-think classic films.” Rodrigues has called ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL (1974) one of his favorite films and “a lesson in remaking.” The French-German broadcaster Arte will show the love story between the widow Emmi and the younger guest worker Ali on 20 June at 10:10 pm.
Over the next two years, the project Encounter “RWF / RWF entdecken” aims to find ways to introduce younger generations to Fassbinder’s work. Various teams in Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and Zurich will organize access points to the Fassbinder Center’s collection. The project, organized by the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum (DFF), is supported by the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain and the Fassbinder Foundation. More information can be found at: https://www.dff.film/filmblog-rwf/ DE
Even at 77, actor Udo Kier is still as busy as ever. One of his upcoming films is Nicolette Krebitz’s romantic comedy AEIOU – A QUICK ALPHABET OF LOVE, which opens in German theaters on 16 June (a trailer is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scv_GKN_Mp0 DE). To mark the occasion, Kier is not only gracing the cover of the May issue of GQ, but has also given the magazine an interview that is well worth reading. In it, he says of his friend Fassbinder that he was the only filmmaker to show Germany “the way it really was after the war. […] When he died, I became very depressed.” The interview is also available online: https://www.gq-magazin.de/entertainment/artikel/udo-kier-gq-titelstory DE
On 12 June at 1:05 p.m. (repeat: 15 June at 8:00 p.m.), the radio program “Kaisers Klänge – Musikalische Entdeckungsreisen” on hr2-Kultur will be devoted to the soundtracks of Fassbinder’s films. You can listen to it directly on the station’s website: https://www.hr2.de/programm/klassik-oper/kaisers-klaenge–rainer-werner-fassbinders-filmmusik,epg-kaisers-klaenge-378.html DE
Until 3 July, the Munich Film Museum is showing a series dedicated to the Dutch producer Rob Houwer. In addition to some of his own directorial works, the program includes films by Rudolf Thome, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, Vlado Kristl, Marran Gosov and Paul Verhoeven. And there is the very rare opportunity to see Dieter Lemmel’s short film ALARM (1969), produced by ZDF, in which Fassbinder makes a brief appearance as a “uniformed man.” The film will be shown on 3 June at 7:00 pm. The complete program is available at: https://www.muenchner-stadtmuseum.de/fileadmin/relaunch-2019/Sammlungen/Filmmuseum/Filmreihen/PH44/pdfs/10_Rob_Houwer.pdf DE
We wish our readers and friends a pleasant Whitsun break and will be back soon with more news from the world of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
More on the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder:
More on the stage plays of Rainer Werner Fassbinder:
Photo left: Udo Kier in Nicolette Krebitz’s A E I O U – A QUICK ALPHABET OF LOVE © Komplizen Film. Photographer: Reinhold Vorschneider
Photo right: Still from João Pedro Rodrigues’ FOGO-FÁTUO © JHR FILMS