July 2015, arsenal cinema

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

IN EINEM JAHR MIT 13 MONDEN, 1978

To coincide with the "Fassbinder – NOW" exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, every Monday we are screening a film from the rich oeuvre of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who would have turned 70 this year. Even 33 years after his death, his work continues to exude an undeniable topicality. As a chronicler of German history and society, he examined the structures that enable people to oppress others, as well as the emotional exploitation in intimate relationships and how they depend on economic conditions.

MARTHA (West Germany 1974, 6.7.) Martha (Margit Carstensen), who has no experience whatsoever in matters of the heart, meets the successful, calculating Helmut (Karlheinz Böhm) and swiftly marries him. Helmut has her move into his somber villa with him, hands in her resignation at her workplace without telling her, and teaches her how to act, think and feel in the correct manner. He always maintains his benevolent smile in the process – it's all for Martha’s own good after all. Martha eagerly obeys and enters a whole world of suffering. A deliberately exaggerated critique of bourgeois relationships, a melodrama and horror film at the same time.  

FONTANE EFFI BRIEST (West Germany 1974, 13.7.) Closely based on Fontane's novel, yet simultaneously "a film about a lost time from our perspective" (RWF), the focus is on the young Effi Briest, who marries the 20 years older Baron von Instetten but finds no love in her marriage and escapes into an affair. "This is no women's film, but rather a film about Fontane, about a poet's stance towards his society. It is not a film that tells a story, but rather a film that traces a particular stance. It is the stance of someone who sees through the mistakes and weakness of his society and also criticizes them, but still recognizes this society as being the one that applies to him." (RWF)

FAUSTRECHT DER FREIHEIT (Fox and his Friends, West Germany 1975, 20.7.) The working class Franz Biberkopf (played by Fassbinder and named after the protagonist of Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz) wins half a million in the lottery. At the same time, he falls in love with the supplicated Eugen, whose company Franz is supposed to bail out with his winnings. Franz's fairy tale rise and connected fall follow the laws of economy – both in business and in love. 

CHINESISCHES ROULETTE (Chinese Roulette, West Germany 1976, 27.7.) A woman, her lover, her husband, his lover, their physically handicapped daughter and her mute governess meet unexpectedly at a castle, where they are looked after by the housekeeper and her writer son. Neglected by her parents, the daughter suggests they play Chinese roulette in order to reveal the cold-heartedness and hypocrisy of all concerned.

DIE EHE DER MARIA BRAUN (The Marriage of Maria Braun, West Germany 1978, 3.8.) Following their marriage in the middle of the 2nd World War, Maria (Hanna Schygulla) and Hermann Braun are only able to spend one night together. At the end of the war, he is missing in Russia, while Maria takes advantage of her opportunities in postwar Germany and manages to improve her social status. Like the young West Germany, she puts all her energy into the blossoming economic miracle and separates in the process body and spirit, reason and feeling.

IN EINEM JAHR MIT 13 MONDEN (In a Year with 13 Moons, 1978, 10.8.) The film tells the story of the transsexual Elvira in Frankfurt, who has changed sex out of love for a man, one of the most powerful brothel owners in the city. During her final days, she wanders through the nightmarish city and recapitulates her life: her childhood in a nunnery, her job at a slaughterhouse, her unhappy marriage. One of Fassbinder’s most despairing and radical films.

LOLA (West Germany 1981, 17.8.) Germany in 1957. The economy is flourishing in a small town in northern Bavaria, where business relations are preferably negotiated in the local brothel. A new construction official would like to bring the corrupt machinations out into the air, but is unable to maintain his position of moral authority when he falls in love with the prostitute Lola. (al)

arsenal cinema: 48. Forum


48. Forum / 68. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

48. Forum / 68. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

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