Rainer Werner Fassbinder was something else. A filmmaker who made great art films. His high productivity from the late sixties to the early eighties produced more than forty films and stage plays. He used cinema to convey real emotions and made everyday situations into an art form. Fassbinder was a temperamental soul who was never satisfied with himself. He bullied his actors, friends and lovers. A protege of Douglas Sirk, Fassbinder made many melodramatic films that not only tugged at the heart strings but enlightened the soul. Some of his best work came from his own personal experiences and from those around him. His films shed light on the human condition like never before. Fassbinder films feature Freudian, Jungian and gay themes (he was gay himself), satires on social classes, alienation, racism, madness, broken families, marriages of convenience and isolationism.
Fassbinder formed an acting company that included such performers as Margit Carstensen, Brigitte Mira, Hanna Schygulla, Irm Hermann, Ulli Lommel, Ingrid Caven, Karl Schyedt, Kurt Raab, Lilo Pempeit and Hans Hirschmuller. Several of his actors went on to become filmmakers themselves. Fassbinder lived a fast life that he feared would end one day abruptly. He was always working on a new script, play or film project. Whenever he had down time from a film he would always shoot a made-for-television film. A few of them would top many of his silver screen productions, films such as Martha and Fear of Fear were edgy satires of film noirs and melodramas. Fassbinder was also a great actor in his own right who would often cast himself in cameo roles or bit parts. Fox and His Friends was one of his few starring roles and in my opinion his best performance. In order to look the part of a small time hustler, he went on a crash diet and lost a lot a weight.
On June 10, 1982, Fassbinder died of a drug overdose of cocaine and sleeping pills. When they found his body, he was clutching an unfinished script that he was working on the night before. Years have past since Fassbinder made his last film but his cinematic legacy will always live on.
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Joseph Ulibas (Captain_Couth)
I have been working on my web series Fine Feather Friends.
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