When Rainer Werner Fassbinder, prodigious, original, unrestrained, died in 1982 at the age of 37, he left behind a miraculous body of work–nearly 40 feature-length films, made for theatrical distribution and German television, a mini-series “Eight Hours Are Not a Day” and a “maxi-series,” the towering, 14-episode, nearly 16-hour “Berlin Alexanderplatz.”
The Film Society of Lincoln Center, continuing its retrospective, “Fassbinder: Romantic Anarchist,” beginning where Part 1 left off, will screen all of the director’s theatrical features (including the much lauded “The Marriage of Maria Braun,” and his final film, “Querelle”), and the non-series television work, that were made between 1974 and 1982.
Fassbinder returned obsessively to themes of love, exploitation (by intimates and society), crime, the effects of World War II, fascism and “the economic miracle” on Germany, realizing his work with a steadfast company of actors (including the incomparable Hanna Schygulla, Ulli Lommel, Kurt Raab, Hark Bohm) and other creative partners (among them, composer Peer Raben, editor Juliane Lorenz, now head of the Fassbinder Foundation, cinematographer Xaver Schwartzenberger).
Also included in the series are films in which Fassbinder acted for other directors (Volker Schlöndorff’s “Baal,” unseen for decades–the adaptation displeased Mrs. Bertolt Brecht–and “Kamikaze ’89,” directed by Wolf Gremm), films by directors he admired (Luchino Visconti’s “The Damned”), and two documentaries about RWF (Dietor Shidor’s “The Wizard of Babylon,” wrapped hours before Fassbinder’s death, and two free screenings of “Rainer Werner Fassbinder–Last Works,” with director Wolf Gremm in attendance).
So much. Not enough.
“Fassbinder: Romantic Anarchist (Part 2),” at the Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, opens Friday, November 7, and runs through Wednesday, November 27.