Rainer Werner Fassbinder

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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#401 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:28 pm

Finally got around to watching Whity, one of a handful of Fassbinders left unseen, and it's a fun crackpot exercise that plays by Fassbinder's personal logic in the most transparent terms. Fassbinder has always enjoyed amplifying unorthodox ideas to depict an exaggerated version of earnest melodramatic feelings, I believe to get as close to his hypersensitive experience of struggling through life as the medium can offer. This is one of his more playful approaches to that worldview, serving up racial and sexual social friction within the weird Western Musical subgenre, an inherently repelling combination of flavors that already alienates viewers upon delivery. Everyone seems to be wearing goops of makeup except our lead, imbuing an artificiality that he moves in constant opposition to all as the 'other'- and a key interest for me was flip-flopping between these interchangeable perspectives of whether or not he's the only 'normal' character that we should be identifying with, or whether his normalcy is strange when the dominant way of being is eccentric, thus invalidating his existence in objective terms within the internal logic of Fassbinder's milieu.

The opposing forces seem to be a curiosity of Fassbinder's as well, and Hanna Schygulla joins him as another stigmatized character who also shares our core attention with deserved empathy. Is this 'internal logic' mirroring our outside world though, just in a very heightened manner? After all, these two characters are classified social deviants who check the boxes for being other'd: for Fassbinger perhaps a female whore is societally ridiculed on par with a man who swings both ways sexually- at least the gay character remains consistent and positions himself silently passive in the shadows. Fassbinder's bisexuality and unavoidable loudness in character may be symptomatic scarlet letters contributing to the self-concept he's never been shy about feeling extra-burdened by, even against marginalized groups that he perceives thwart his belongingness. A bit like a lone hero in a western, alone against cold landscapes, lawlessness and the black sheep of a family of already segregated individualists. Would Fassbinder dare to see himself as the isolated 'other' through the surrogate of a black man? Nothing would surprise me from this man's pansexual-esque perspective on emotional relatability effacing concrete demographics of identity.

The empty space of nonverbal interactions can get so dragged out at times that they perfectly mimic actual spaghetti westerns' deliberate pace building to two characters getting closer, musically moving to hysterical degrees- especially as they climax with perverse sexual encounters or antithetical fizzles into banal meaninglessness (or, how about a looooong drink from a bottle- just going on a few seconds long enough to be funny before returning to quiet drama). The film is essentially a giant joke that turns up the volume of absurdities, only to convey a familiar tenderness and pathos in between the lines, though not too much to expel us from the magic of the pronounced constructions of craft.

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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#402 Post by nolanoe » Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:34 pm

I think WHITY is still too "in" the modus of his early, theater influenced work, but it's very interesting. The entire gothic vampire-drag thing is really intriguing, and Whity just wasting his last bit of water to wash his skin is both an interesting take on race and masculinity.

Anyways: any news on restoration work? ANGST VOR DER ANGST, BOLLWIESER and WILDWECHSEL are still all M.I.A.

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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#403 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:06 pm

I've read that Wildwechsel is unreleasable because the author of the original play hated it and has blocked any further circulation. It seems like MOMA is the only venue that's screened it any time within the last couple of decades (as part of their 2007 retrospective), and that was apparently from their own battered print. Bolwieser has been shown more frequently (e.g. at the 2014 Lincoln Center retrospective), but an Australian screening in 2018 was canceled due to "an unforeseen rights dispute."

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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#404 Post by Calvin » Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:15 am

Presumably a restoration could still be performed, though obviously they wouldn't get any financial return on such a project if they couldn't then distribute it

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