filmmakers Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a central figure in the creation of films after the Second World War and became one of the most important auteur filmmakers in the New German Cinema. His works varied from melodrama (The bitter tears of Petra von Kant), to Sci-Fi Noir (The world on wire), to the Gothic thriller (Chinese roulette) and ends in gay fantasy mixed with murder (Querelle). To say that Fassbinder’s work was extensive is a severe understatement. With at least 21 films made in his short 37-year life, he was an intense talent that left us far too soon. With this intensity, there are various stories about how he treated his actors and friends. I heard one of those stories about how he would film without sound to torture his actors and synchronize their voices in post production. Ironically, he mocks his own alleged bullying Beware of a holy whore So what is real and what is fantasy is difficult to see.
enfant terrible, produced by ARTE and distributed by Dark Star Pictures, offers us a loose biography about life. loves and works from Fassbinder.
The film begins with Fassbinder (Oliver Masucci), who made a name for himself in the Munich action theater in 1967. Then he puts together his acting troupe, which consists of his cross-dressing and current lover Britta (Anton Rattinger), the insecure Kurt Raab (Hary Prinz)), the talented but arrogant Ulli Lomell (Lucas Gregorowicz), the beautiful but abused Gudrun (Katja Riemann), together with the handsome but haunted Gunter Kaufman (Michael Klammer). Fassbinder has problems at first, but manages to find his muse and a lover in El Hedi ben Salem (Erdal Yildiz). As Fassbinder’s films take off, self-destruction and tragedy pull him into his personal hell, from which he cannot escape, and seal his fate with sex, drugs and the death of those who are important to him and haunt him to his fatal death.
Co-author and director Oskar Roehler, enfant terrible is designed with intrigue, as it gives the feeling of a filmed stage play with its faux sets and artificial backdrops. While some viewers find Markus Schutz’s art direction confusing, Fassbinder would use these objets d’art as many of his films were based on pieces he had written or adapted (The bitter tears of Petra von Kant and Querelle come to mind). Even if the timeline from which the film jumps Love is colder than death (1968) to Ali: Fear eats the soul (1974) and misses many important films in Fassbinder’s oeuvre. The meta-feel of this film, where the biopic becomes a piece in which the actors play their specific roles, makes it attractive. Despite the inaccuracies of the story (which Biopic doesn’t) and its skewed characterizations that felt deliberate, Mr. Roehler provides us with a biography of melodramatic proportions that at first seems satirical, but provides shadows of darkness as the film progresses.
Oliver Masucci is committed as an unpredictable but exaggerated cooper who takes sadism and brutality to a new level. Anton Rattinger is honored as Britta for his exaggerated performance. Hary Prinz is fantastic as the disgusting but injured Kurt Raab. I particularly liked Katja Riemann’s appearance when the naive, hard-nosed Gudrun became. This film is professionally cast, with no poor performance to be found.
For cooper lovers, enfant terrible is met with ridicule. As I am not an expert on anyone’s biographies, I applaud Mr. Roehler for his courage that it is a high mountain to illustrate the person, especially the one shrouded in fables and controversy. If you like a bio that has some foundation but not the whole truth, and only serves to crush an artist and be curious about how it all went wrong to some degree, then check out this cinematic one Offer to.
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