Dead by 37, openly bi-sexual, constantly controversial: Rainer Werner Fassbinder was arguably post-war Germany’s greatest filmmaker.
This is a two-part season with more films coming in May.
A fearless artist who knew no taboos, Fassbinder combined scathing social criticism with profound psychological insight. After failing to get into film school he turned instead to the theatre, rapidly winning renown as a radical, innovative writer-director. With ferocious energy, though minimal resources, he started to make films, building a loyal team of actors and technicians drawn from the theatre (his first 10 features were made in less than two years). An insatiable film addict from early childhood, Fassbinder drew inspiration from the French New Wave and, later, from the Hollywood melodramas of Douglas Sirk and others. But what emerged from his dazzling fusion of style and content was a powerful, personal vision of people imprisoned by social constraints and their own contradictory desires. Provocative, poignant, darkly witty: these are films that could change your life.
"Seeing a Fassbinder retrospective is better than drugs, liquor and sex put together. If he was alive today, I'd fall to my knees in front of him. Dead? Well, we have to pray to somebody, don't we?"
The Marriage of Maria Braun will screen with a Q&A with actor Hanna Schygulla and editor Juliane Lorenz (President of the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation) on Wednesday 29 March 19:00.
Check out the BFI Flare: Fassbinder's influences strand.
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