“Fassbinder NOW” and Ever on the Occasion of Fassbinder’s 70th Anniversary

It is difficult to write about Rainer Werner Fassbinder because his medium is film and this is a text. It’s all the more difficult because his films are some of the most wonderful films made in film history and this text needs to match this high standard but lacks in format and space. However the feel of the film, the visual experience, can be translated into words. His films are about feelings, about the raw naked feel that strips bare the inner worlds of his protagonists entangled in hopeless love affairs, personal dramas derived from socio-historical circumstances, stuffy middle class post-war German milieus, historical conundrums, fate.

Protagonists driven to extremes, dead-ends, emotional breakdowns, tormented amid the flourishing facades of the so-called cosy “Wirtschaftswunder” superficial after war well-being in provincial Germany and bigger cities – Fassbinder is about extremes expressed sometimes subtly and sometimes overtly - subversively through camera work, lighting, composition of images and sets, costume minutes, montage and close ups. Fassbinder created not only films but film stars for his films – Hanna Shygulla, Barbara Sukowa, Mario Adorf to name but a few – he brought their artistic potential to shine as Lili Marlen, Lola, corrupt city official – the roles that defined their further artistic careers and images they represented in cinema.

Fassbinder created about 40 film masterpieces throughout his short but extremely productive career, which makes him one of the most influential filmmakers ever. The exhibition on the occasion of his 70th anniversary in Martin Gropius Bau focused on Fassbinder’s films, showcased his work diaries and related handwritten documents allowing us to trace the process of behind-the-curtain film production work, exhibited wonderful film costumes by Barbara Baum as well as attempted to trace lines of influence on contemporary film and photography. One remains thoughtful as to why the curators exhibited the works of the photographers and video artists they chose for this occasion in Martin-Gropius-Bau, since Fassbinder’s influence on contemporary image production has been so transformative it has influenced anyone dealing with moving image. Mere quotations of Fassbinder’s film titles or film settings can hardly qualify. Or why at all would we need comparison of more or less well-known living artists in mid-careers represented by certain galleries with the legendary filmmaker?

The Exhibition Fassbinder JETZT (NOW) runs in Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin till 23th of August, 2015. Related events and retrospectives of Fassbinder’s films will be shown by Berliner Festspiele and Kino Arsenal.

And speaking of retrospectives, Georgian Film Weeks will be held in Werkstatt der Kulturen, Berlin, starting March 2016.

Contributions are welcome!  More info at: http://e-mergingartists.blogspot.de/2014/06/blog-post_25.html 

Dr. Phil. Lily Fürstenow-Khositashvili

23 May 2015 13:47