Program Type: 
FilmVideo
Films by Fassbinder
October 17, 2013 - December 21, 2013
Screening Room

Overview

Films by Fassbinder
Oct 17–Dec 21
All 35mm film–no digital!

“Everyone must decide for himself whether it is better to have a brief but more intensely felt existence, or to live a long and ordinary life.”—Rainer Werner Fassbinder

In a career that lasted just 16 years, Rainer Werner Fassbinder made over 40 films and directed 24 plays. Though we think of him primarily as a director, he was an actor, writer, cameraman, composer, designer, editor, producer, and even a theater manager. Obsessed with film as a child, he went to the cinema constantly, often seeing three movies a day. He is best remembered for his radical social melodramas—strongly influenced by classical Hollywood cinema—which featured outsider characters who often reflected the director’s own fluid sexuality and extreme, ultimately destructive lifestyle. His work demonstrates a profound sensitivity to the lives of people on the margins of society. He was particularly concerned with the way the ghosts of the past haunted contemporary life, and relentlessly criticized German bourgeois culture. Fassbinder died in 1982 at the age of 37.

“The more real things get, the more like myths they become.”—Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Presented in collaboration with Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and Roxie Cinema. Pacific Film Archive’s Fassbinder program runs from Oct 4 to Dec 15, Roxie’s from Oct 4 through 10. Visit bampfa.berkeley.edu and www.roxie.com.

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Events

  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
    Oct 17, 2013 6:30pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    A tentative love affair between a middle-aged German woman and a young Moroccan immigrant worker threatens to buckle under the class tensions and racism exposed by their relationship. The film offers a dispassionate dissection of the social pressures and racial hatred apparent in 1970s Germany, and an investigation of a relationship suffering from its own internal contradictions. (1974, 94 min, 35mm)

  • The Merchant of Four Seasons
    Oct 20, 2013 1:00pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    Hailed as a defining moment in Fassbinder's career, The Merchant of Four Seasons tells the story of Hans, a street fruit peddler and born loser. His choice of career upsets his bourgeois family, causing him to turn to drinking and violence. After recovering from a heart attack, his business finally begins to take off. One sociable day, while toasting his friends and family, he makes a decision—the last decision of his life. (1971, 88 min, 35mm)

  • Effi Briest
    Oct 24, 2013 6:30pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    Effi Briest showcases a spellbinding performance from Hanna Schygulla in the title role. Married at seventeen to Baron von Instetten, a much older man, the bored and naïve Effi spends her long days innocently dallying with the charming Major Crampas (Ulli Lommel). She will pay dearly for this behavior, as the director exposes the ways that “proper” society conspires to suppress the independent spirit. (1974, 135 min, 35mm)

  • Love is Colder than Death
    Oct 27, 2013 1:00pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    Fassbinder’s first feature is a stark, bizarre crime drama crossed with a nihilistic love triangle. Strongly influenced by the French New Wave and Brechtian theatrical techniques, it features German superstars Ulli Lommel and Hanna Schygulla, and centers on the activities of a small-time pimp who refuses to join a local crime syndicate. (1969, 88 min, 35mm)

  • Veronika Voss
    Nov 3, 2013 2:00pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    In shimmering black-and-white, Veronika Voss is a deranged satire disguised as 1950s melodrama. Rosel Zech stars as the Third Reich-era starlet Veronika Voss. A faded film star and drug addict who dreams of returning to the glory days of her past, she develops an unlikely relationship with a journalist, who unravels the mysterious secrets behind her downfall. (1982, 104 min, 35mm)

  • Satan’s Brew
    Nov 16, 2013 7:30pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    “Almost certainly the wildest movie ever made by Fassbinder, Satan's Brew is as unhinged as some of the director's masterpieces are rigorously controlled. A kind of gross-out comedy on art and fame, it takes as its hero a celebrated poet, played by longtime cohort Kurt Raab. In the first of the film's many affronts to good taste, the poet kills his wealthy mistress in an S&M game, thus prompting a financial crisis—he may even be forced to start writing again…This depraved three-ring circus is not the way to be introduced to Fassbinder, but the director's fans will be amused.”—Robert Horton, film critic, The Herald (1976, 112 min, 35mm)

  • Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?
    Nov 21, 2013 7:30pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    Herr R., a middle-class German, leads a life of boredom and quiet desperation. Between the blandness of his job and the disappointments of his family life, Herr R. can find no peace. When the tensions of his excruciatingly ordinary existence build to intolerable levels, Herr R. calmly responds in brutal fashion. With long uninterrupted takes and improvisational scenes, this savage yet comic masterpiece is an indelible portrait of middle-class banality and alienation. (1970, 88 min, 35mm)

  • Martha
    Dec 1, 2013 2:00pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    Margit Carstensen stars as a young woman who finds herself slowly stripped of her freedom by her sadistic and tyrannical husband. This exquisite, very dark comedy is one of Fassbinder’s most direct homages to Douglas Sirk’s 1950s Technicolor melodramas, and a bitter commentary on the fascism of the past and present within German society. (1974, 116 min, 35mm)

  • Querelle
    Dec 8, 2013 2:00pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    Adapted from Jean Genet's novel, Fassbinder’s last film is a surreal fever dream of eroticism and menace. Brad Davis (Midnight Express) stars as Querelle, an enigmatic, drug-dealing sailor on shore leave. Amidst the sultry, highly charged atmosphere, he embarks on a journey of sexual self-discovery. With its striking, iconic imagery, set against the orange glow of a permanent sunset, Querelle is one of Fassbinder’s most distinctive works. (1982, 108 min, 35mm)

  • In a Year with 13 Moons
    Dec 21, 2013 7:30pm
    Screening Room
    Regular: $10 / YBCA Member, Student, Senior, Teacher: $8 / YBCA:You FREE

    This masterpiece defies categorization; it’s equal parts melodrama, dark comedy, tragedy, and probing character study. It features a breathtaking central performance by Volker Spengler as Elvira, a transgender man who has become a woman in an attempt to please a former lover. Begun only weeks after the suicide of his lover, Fassbinder wrote, directed, photographed, and edited what is perhaps his most personal and powerful film. (1978, 124 min, 35mm)

YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
Adobe
Koret Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.