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Fassbinder: The Life and Work of a Genius: The Life and Work of a Provocative Genius

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Fassbinder: The Life and Work of a Genius: The Life and Work of a Provocative Genius.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Christian Braad Thomsen(Author)

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It was Rainer Werner Fassbinder who helped put New German Cinema on the international map in the 1970s. He was an artist who achieved that rare synthesis of radical subjectivity and wide audience appeal; he succeeded in reconciling his own artistic demands with an audience's desire to be entertained. In just 14 years he made 44 films, including television films comprising several parts. He also had an active career in the theatre. His death in 1982 marked the end of an important epoch in film history.Fassbinder hurled himself through life with a fury, confronting the materialism of the new Germany, and producing a body of work of astonishing variety. This book attempts to illuminate the complexities of the work, while at the same time as it reveals a man who tried to reconstruct the extended family of his childhood through his relationships with the actors and technicians who followed him from film to film. Christian Braad Thomsen, a friend of Fassbinder's and a film-maker himself, is especially perceptive about Fassbinder's working methods and the specific nature of his cinematic imagination.

Christian Braad Thomsen was a friend of Rainer Werner Fassbinder and is the author of Fassbinder: The Life and Work of a Provocative Genius.He is also a film-maker himself.

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Review Text

  • By Jonathan James Romley on 20 January 2004

    The Amazon synopsis says it all really... Fassbinder made a record number of forty-four films in fourteen years before burning out at his writing desk. Various drugs and alcoholic beverage containers were littered around his body, whilst the manuscript for his next masterpiece lay on the floor beside him... the last few pages still in the typewriter. It’s the ultimate demise that one might expect for a hugely successful rock star, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth...From that one paragraph we get an idea of the complexities of Fassbinder’s life, with the TRUE story behind the filmmaker reading like a synopsis for one of his own manuscripts. The details of his life are rich with the kind of emotional ups and downs own would associate with social melodrama at it’s most cloying, with Fassbinder, an over-weight bi-sexual who married often - though still found the time to pimp German actor and sometime collaborator Udo Kier around the leather bars that would become part of the lifestyle for his night-time altar ego - being as far from the mould of the usual auteur as you could possibly get.His trait as a filmmaker was to take the template of Douglas Sirk and create a German melodrama with a more traditional Hollywood ideal; all the while, playing off its conventions with an almost post-modern approach to the contrast between the real and the cinematic. His most famous attempts at such a style came with the Merchant of Four Seasons, the Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. By the time he’d reached the mid-nineteen-seventies he’d started to experiment with the visual aspects of films, as well as establishing a more socially aware attitude. These more left-field works included the downbeat social-satires In a Year of 13 Moons, and Chinese Roulette and the more-controversial parable the Third Generation.By the later stages of his career Fassbiner had begun to elevate the visual design of his films, creating bold and often hauntingly surreal works like Despair (from the novel by Nabokov) Lola (a remake of the Blue Angel) and Querelle (from the novel by Genet)... he was also working with some fairly established actors. Thomsen’s claim to crafting this as the definitive Fassbinder biog stems from the fact that he was THERE...! Present and correct during the shooting of some of these landmark films, in attendances during some of the edit sessions and a good friend to many of the filmmaker’s comrades and contemporaries. He talks in great detail about Fassbinder’s occasional bouts of depression; his strange relationship with his wife and lovers... and the fact that the star of Fear Eats the Soul went out into the night following the break up of their relationship and stabbed two innocents to death.His writing style might be described as being somewhat generic, but that could be down to the translation. Besides, who needs over the top writing when the character of the book is already through the roof? The attention given to each of the films, no matter how small or un-noteworthy is vast and filled with inside detail... So if you’re interested in Fassbinder’s cinema, new wave cinema, or just filmmaking in general, then this is one of the best books around. Right up there with John Baxter’s biography of Stanley Kubrick, and Stig Bjorkman’s interviews with Woody Allen.


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