Fassbinder's Women | Chicago Reader

Fassbinder's Women

Throughout his meteoric career, German writer-director Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1946-'82) depended on the kindness of friends and associates to realize his cinema of self-destruction and despair—at least that's the impression given by this adoring 2000 video documentary by Rosa von Praunheim, a gay filmmaker much influenced by his subject. Von Praunheim's approach is fairly casual, but he elicits telling comments and facial reactions from his interviewees, who include Fassbinder's cameraman, Michael Ballhaus; two of his lovers, Peer Raben and Harry Baer; and actresses Irm Hermann, Hanna Schygulla, Brigitte Mira, Eva Mattes, and Ingrid Caven (who was briefly married to Fassbinder). All of them reveal their infatuation with the prolific filmmaker, a man who craved love and radiated creative vigor but who often played sadistic power games. 82 min.

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