Rainer Fassbinder

31.05.1945, Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria, Germany - 06.10.1982, München, Germany

 

Director
Fassbinder’s childhood was from the beginning marked by movies. Since he was
seven his mother used to send him to the movies so she could translate in peace.
The beginning of his career is in theatre; in 1968 writes the first drama
Katzelmacher
. The curiosity he showed for theatre as much for film,
represents his wide range of interests and desire to cover as many subjects as
possible. Two marriages, homosexuality, and cocaine addiction (one of many)
marked his life, among many films. Along with more than 40 long movies in 14
years, he worked on TV, wrote dramas and acted, composed songs and produced. He
tried his skill in different genres; from adaptations of literary pieces and
crime stories to melodramas that can sum up the main characteristic of his work.
Under the influence of Godard’s and Brecht’s theories, he made the early movies,
and in a short time never exceeding a budget in order to pass onto new projects
as soon as possible. Searching for a broader public he turns to the model of
American melodrama – especially films of Douglas Sirk. A movie Ali: Fear Eats
the Soul
brings him a prize of the critics in Cannes and represents the
beginning of a greater interest for his movies. Finally, The Marriage of
Maria Braun
  brings to Fassbinder the success in his homeland, where
until then he had been more famous for his TV-work. In 1980 he makes the famous
TV-series Berlin Alexanderplatz.

Filmography

Querelle (1982)
Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss (1982)
Lola (1981)
Theater in Trance (1981) (documentary)
Lili Marleen (1981)
Berlin-Alexanderplatz (1980) (mini TV series)
Die Dritte Generation (1979)
Die Ehe der Maria Braun (1979)
Deutschland im Herbst (1978)
In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden (1978)
Despair (1978)
Bolwieser (1977) (TV)
Frauen in New York (1977) (TV)
Satansbraten (1976)
Chinesisches Roulette (1976)
Ich will doch nur, daß ihr mich liebt (1976)
Angst vor der Angst (1975) (TV)
Mutter Küsters Fahrt zum Himmel (1975)
Faustrecht der Freiheit (1975)
Wie ein Vogel auf dem Draht (1975) (TV)
Welt am Draht (1974) (TV)
Effi Briest (1974)
Angst essen Seele auf (1974)
Martha (1973) (TV)
Nora Helmer (1973) (TV)
Wildwechsel (1972) (TV)
Bremer Freiheit (1972) (TV)
Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (1972) (mini TV series)
Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (1972)
Der Händler der vier Jahreszeiten (1972)
Whity (1971)
Warnung vor einer heiligen Nutte (1971)
Pioniere in Ingolstadt (1971) (TV)
Rio das Mortes (1971) (TV)
Die Niklashauser Fahrt (1970) (TV)
Der Amerikanische Soldat (1970)
Warum läuft Herr R. Amok? (1970)
Das Kaffeehaus (1970) (TV)
Götter der Pest (1970)
Katzelmacher (1969)
Liebe ist kälter als der Tod (1969)
Das Kleine Chaos (1966) (short film)
Der Stadtstreicher (1966) (short film)


Films by this director

The Marriage of Maria Braun

(Die Ehe der Maria Braun, 1979)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael Ballhaus
Synopsis:

Maria Braun waits for the news of her husband who was sent to war. When she gets tired of being a passive wife, she starts working in an illegal bar for American soldiers. Soon she hears of her husband’s death; then she goes to the bar and asks a soldier to dance with her. But, as often happens in the confusion of war, her husband is not dead but imprisoned. His return makes things more complicated, but Maria Braun still has her ways of avoiding the role that the others want to impose on her. On...

digital, color, 120 min

Lili Marleen

(1981)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Xaver Schwarzenberger
Synopsis:

A love story of a woman that sings for Nazis and a Jewish composer. Wilkie helps Robert transport the Jews to a safer territory. She becomes popular with a song, Lili Marleen, and even Hitler expresses a desire to see her. Despite all, Wilkie doesn’t forget Robert. 

digital, color, 120 min

Love Is Colder Than Death

(Liebe ist kälter als der Tod, 1969)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
Synopsis:

A bit unusual story under the influence of Jean.Luc Godard about friendship between a pimp, Franz, and a criminal, Bruno. Even though the friendship might not be the best idea because of the pressure of a certain syndicate of criminals, Bruno and Franz even share Franz’s girlfriend, Johanna. But, Bruno soon becomes over superfluous… 

black and white, 88 min

Katzelmacher

(1969)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Dietrich Lohmann
Synopsis:

A Greek emigrant, Jorgos, enters the lifeless days of young people from the suburb of Munich. He represents a communist threat. When he starts dating a girl they beat him up, but it seems that in this early Fassbinder movie women have different views and easily accept something new. 

black and white, 88 min

Gods of the Plague

(Götter der Pest, 1970)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Dietrich Lohmann
Synopsis:

After getting out of prison, Franz Walsh returns to the old friends. The former girlfriend, Johanna, killer, Günter, and the new mistress, Margaret, are waiting for him. Günter killed his brother, Marian, and the two women that he hangs around with are planning something horrible, one out of love, the other out of jealousy. 

black and white, 91 min.

Why does Herr R. Run Amok?

(Warum läuft Herr R. Amok?, 1970)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Dietrich Lohmann
Synopsis:

Mister R. is a typical example of a normal person, even though his boss would like him to move one step ahead from this technical pedantry towards solving problems. Mrs. R. begins to climb up the social scale and has expensive tastes. What was there to make him commit the cruel crime he eventually committed?  

color, 88 min

The Merchant of Four Seasons

(Der Händler der vier Jahreszeiten, 1971)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Dietrich Lohmann
Synopsis:

Hans Epp is a fruit seller. After one fight with his wife because of the fruit delivery to ex-lover Ingrid, Hans goes to a bar and gets drunk. One day he becomes violent towards his wife that draws him deeper into despair. It seems that the only person who understands him is his sister Anna. Soon Hans has a heart-attack and too weak to run the business he finds a replacement in a young and trustworthy Anzell – he only doesn’t know that his wife had an affair with Anzell.

color, 88 min

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

(Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant, 1972)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael Ballhaus
Synopsis:

Petra von Kant, successful fashion creator, falls in love with Karin and promises her a career of a model. Soon Petra becomes jealous and possessive, but Karin easily gets out of her influence whenever she wants. It seems that Karin will return to her husband who suddenly returned from Australia. Petra’s secretary Marlene opposes Petra’s relationship with Karin and leaves Petra – maybe to be a slave to someone else, as Fassbinder himself says.

color, 124 min

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

(Angst essen Seele auf, 1974)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jürgen Jürges
Synopsis:

A story about forbidden love between a widow in her sixties, Emma, and worker Ali – from Morocco, twenty years younger than she. When the outer pressure calms down and when they are left alone, there arouses a new inner pressure bringing a new threat to their relationship. There is a question if Ali can adjust to the environment and life with Emma… 

35 mm, color, 94 min

Effi Briest

(1974)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jürgen Jürges, Dietrich Lohmann
Synopsis:

An adaptation of the classic from the 19th century by Theodor Fontane. Effi Briest is a 17-year-old forced to marry a baron 20 years older than she. Cheerful and happy by nature, Effi sinks into despair. In times of baron’s absence she is confronted by major Crampas… 

digital, b/w, 140 min

Chinese Roulette

(Chinesisches Roulette, 1976)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
Synopsis:

Angela is an intelligent daughter of divorced parents who forgot about each other. She uses crutches, but that doesn’t keep her from coming up with a plan of how to join her parents together. She invites them, with their lovers, to a family mansion in the countryside. Her parents believe that the other is on a business trip, and they are surprised to find out that the other came but still decide to stay. The next evening, Angela imposes on them a game of truth – Chinese roulette…

color, 86 min

Veronika Voss

(Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss, 1982)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Xaver Schwarzenberger
Synopsis:

The last part of the Fassbinder’s post-war trilogy (the first two are The Marriage of Maria Braun and Lola) is an amalgam of a few stories from real life. Veronika Voss is an actress who was supposedly Gobles’ lover. Now when the things stop going well for her, she becomes addicted to morpheme and the doctor’s only concern is to take all the money from her. The only person willing to help is a sports journalist Robert Krohn, even at the cost of losing a girlfriend.

digital, b/w, 104 min

Berlin Alexanderplatz

(1979/1980)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Xaver Schwarzenberger
Synopsis:

Film in 13 parts and epilogue Part 1 - The Sentence Begins (Die Strafe beginnt, 81') Part 2 - How Can You Live if You Aren’t Prepared to Die? (Wie soll man leben, 59') Part 3 - A Hammer on Your Head Can Hurt Your Soul (Ein Hammer auf den Kopf kann die Seele verletzen, 59') Part 4 - A Handful of People in the Depths of Silence (Eine Handvoll Menschen in der Tiefe der Stille, 59') Part 5 - A Reaper with the Might of God (Ein Schnitter mit der Gewalt vom lieben Gott, 59') Part 6 - A Lov...

color

Martha

(1974)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael Ballhaus
Synopsis:

Martha and Helmut Salomon are anything but a perfect couple. She is naďve, immature and self-centered, whereas he is selfish, possessive and sadistic. After they get married Helmut puts Martha’s mother in a mental institution and forbids Martha to continue doing the job she loves. After they return from their honeymoon he moves her into a new house without giving her the chance to take her things from the old home.

digital, color, 116 min

Satan's Brew

(Satansbraten, 1976)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael Ballhaus, Jürgen Jürges
Synopsis:

This is a black comedy about an unlucky and clumsy writer who tries every imaginable way to get hold of some money. He has a brother fascinated by flies, a wife who counts the days since they last slept together, a rich masochistic lover who he accidentally shoots -- and at least one more lover. In the midst of all this mess he finds time to declare himself the reincarnation of Stefan Georg, a gay German poet from the 19th century.

digital, color, 112 min

Lola (1981)

(1981)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbinder
PHOTOGRAPHY: Xaver Schwarzenberger
Synopsis:

Lola is a singer and dancer in a cabaret. Von Bohm is a construction inspector enchanted by Maria-Luise, the daughter of his land-lady. He receives an assignment to investigate possible corruption in a local night club; Von Bohm realizes that Marie-Louise is actually Lola, a dancer. This discovery will force him to choose between the woman he loves and a job he believes in.

digital, color, 113 min
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