Criterion Collection



Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Birth: 31 May 1945, Bad Worishofen, Bavaria, Germany
Death: 10 June 1982, Munich, Bavaria, Germany (drug overdose)
"Above all, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a rebel whose life and art was marked by gross contradiction. Openly homosexual, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. Accused variously by detractors of being anticommunist, male chauvinist, antiSemitic and even antigay, he completed 44 projects between 1966 and 1982, the majority of which can be characterized as highly intelligent social melodramas. His prodigious output was matched by a wild, self-destructive libertinage that earned him a reputation as the enfant terrible of the New German Cinema (as well as its central figure.) Known for his trademark leather jacket and grungy appearance, Fassbinder cruised the bar scene by night, looking for sex and drugs, yet he maintained a flawless work ethic by day. Actors and actresses recount disturbing stories of his brutality toward them, yet his pictures demonstrate his deep sensitivity to social misfits and his hatred of institutionalized violence. Some find his cinema needlessly controversial and avant-garde; others accuse him of surrendering to the Hollywood ethos. It is best said that he drew forth strong emotional reactions from all he encountered, both in his personal and professional lives, and this provocative nature can be experienced posthumously through reviewing his artistic legacy."

  • Fassbinder Foundation
(1945-1982) Germany    
3 Early Short Films:
This Night   (8 min)
The City Tramp   (10 min)
The Little Chaos   (9 min)
Fassbinder, R.W. Germany
Love Is Colder Than Death Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1969
Katzeimacher  (88 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1969
  • Gods of the Plague [5 *] (91 min)
        * = "Top Ten of My Films" R.W.F.
    Rainer Werner
    Germany 1969 dvd
    Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1969/70
    Rio das Mortes  (84 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1970
    The Coffeehouse  (105 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1970
  • Whity   (95 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1970 dvd
    The Niklashausen Journey Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1970
  • The American Soldier   (80 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1970 video
  • Beware of a Holy Whore [1. *] Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1970/1 dvd
    Pioneers in Ingolstadt Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1970/1

  • Merchant of Four Seasons [10 * ] Fassbinder, F.W. Germany 1971 dvd
  • Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1972 dvd
    Jail Bait Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1972
    Eight Hours Don't Make a Day
      5 Part TV series
    Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1972
    Bremen Freedom Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1972
  • World on a Wire   212 minutes Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1973 2 dvds #598
    Nora Melmer   (101 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1973/4
  • Martha   [6. *] (116 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1973/4 dvd
    Ali: Fear Eats the Soul   [8. *]

    Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1973/4 2 dvds #198
  • Fontane Effi Briest   [7. *] Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1972-74 dvd
  • Fox and His Friends

    Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1974/75 dvd
    Like a Bird on a Wire Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1974
  • Mother Kusters Goes... Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1975 dvd
  • Fear of Fear   (80 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1975 dvd
  • Satan's Brew   (112 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1975/76 dvd
  • Chinese Roulette   (86 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1976 dvd
    I Only Want You to Love Me  
    Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1976 dvd
  • The Stationmaster's Wife
    2 Part TV version (total 200 min)
    Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1976/77 dvd
    ? dvd
    Frauen in New York TV (111 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1977
    Despair   [3. *]   (119 min) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1977/78 dvd
    Germany in Autum (total: 124 min.)
      Fassbinder episode 26 minutes
    13 directors
    Fassbinder, R.W.
    Germany 1977/78
  • In a Year with 13 Moons [2.*] Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1978 dvd
    Mariage of Maria Braum   [9. *]
    Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1978 video
    The Third Generation [4.*] Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1978/79 dvd
    Berlin Alexanderplatz (940 mins.)

    • TV series in 13 Parts + Epilog
    • Based on the 1929 novel by Alfred Doblin

    Franz Biberkops Theme, Peer Raben   soundbutton

    Berlin, 1928

    Franz Biberkopf released from prison

    Franz at Max's bar

    Franz and Reinhold

    Franz and Mieze in woods

    Epilogue: Franz with two angels

    Epilogue: Reinhold in prison

    Epilogue: Franz on cross with atom bomb

    Fassbinder's cinema is full of Biberkopf's - victims of false consciousness. And the material of Berlin Alexanderplatz is prefigured throughout his films, whose recurrent subject is damaged lives and marginal existences - petty criminals, prostitutes, transvestites, immigrant workers, depressed housewives, and overweight workers at the end of their tether. More specifically, the harrowing slaughterhouse scenes in Berlin Alexanderplatz are anticipated by the slaughterhouse sequences in Jail Bait and In A Year with 13 Moons. But Berlin Alexanderplatz is more than a resumé of his main themes. It was the fulfillment - and the origin. . .
    Susan Sontag
    Vanity Fair, Sept. 1983

      • review | DVDBeaver
      • Wikipedia

    Fassbinder, R.W.


    1. The Punishment Begins

    2. How is One to Live if One
        Doesn't Want to Die?"

    3. A Hammer Blow to the
        Head Can Injure the Soul

    4. A Handful of People in the
        Depths of Silence

    5. A Peaper with the Power of
        Our Lord

    6. Love Has Its Price

    7. Remember - An Oath can
        be Amputated

    8. The Sun Warms the Skin,
        but Burns it Sometimes Too

    9. About the Etenities Between
        the Many and the Few

    10. Loneliness Tears Cracks of
         Madness Even in Walls

    11. Knowleddge is Power and
         the Early Bird Catches the

    12. The Serpent in the Soul of
         the Serpent

    13. The Out side and the Inside
         and the Secret of Fear of
         the Secret

    14. My Dream of the Dream of
         Franz Biberkopf by Alfred
         Doblin, An Epilogue

    Susan Sontag: "Berlin Alexanderplatz made a huge impression on me - a moral impression. When I pass a beggar on the street, I always think now, maybe it's Franz Biberkopf. It changed the way I look at people. I can't anymore say, "Well, I couldn't know such a person."

    Hanna Schygulla: "I mostly think of the child that person must have been."

    S.S. "This is a character that you would think is hard to sympathize with, particularly for a woman. He commits terrible violence against women. But in some way, you don't judge him because you see how much he suffers and how vulnerable he is. Fassbinder's films make you sympathize with people you might not usually sympathize with. That's the deepest level of so many of his films. . ."

    H.S. ". . . Rainer said that he felt like all the three characters in one. Biberkopf is always getting into disaster and still believes everything will come out fine, Reinhold is driven to be so destructive and he doesn't know why, and Mieze is ready to love everybody and there is no reason for it."

    H.S. "Lamprecht - who plays Franz Biberkopf - resembles Rainer a bit. Rainer said this novel saved his life, when he was an adolescent and so conflicted about being gay. I never quite understood all this, but he found that love with no reason and no purpose was his ideal. . . . . he was so afraid of being exploited, maybe even of being the exploiter, and he was always into this mechanism. He was looking for something that was beyond comprehension and he found it in these two characters.
    The Imperfect Storm
    Susan Sontag
    Village Voice, Feb 25 2003

    Biberkopf talking to himself:

    You swore, Franz Biberkopf, to stay decent. You led a shitty life, ran off the rails. You killed Ida and did time for it. Terrible. And now? Nothing's really changed, Ida's called Mieze, that's all, you lost an arm, careful, you'll end up being a lush, and everything'll start all over again, only worse, and that'll be the end of you . . . Bullshit, can I help it? Did I ask to be a pimp? Bullshit, I say. I've done all I could, all that's humanly possible. . . You'll end up in jail, Franz, you'll get a knife in your belly. Let them try. They'll first get a taste of mine.


    82 mins.

    59 mins.

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    58 mins.

    58 mins.

    112 mins.

    1979/80 7 dvds
    Lili Marleen  (120 min.) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1980
    Theater in Trance
    Documentary in 14 parts   (91 min.)
    Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1981
  • The BRD Trilogy Fassbinder, R. W. Germany dvds #203
    Marriage of Maria Braun   Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1978 dvd #204
  • Lola   (113 min.)
  • Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1981 dvd #205
  • Veronika Voss (104 min.)
  • Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1981/82 dvd #206
  • Querelle (106 min.) Fassbinder, R.W. Germany 1982 dvd


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    UPDATED 03-17-2013




    "How to describe Raben's music? It was as bittersweet as a hurdy-gurdy played on a street corner in Lang's Berlin, or as melancholy as a tango in a Parisian brothel. He was modern, but only in the sense that early 20th-century composers like Stravinsky, Bartok and Kurt Weill are considered modern."


    Berlin Alexanderplatz
    Franz Biberkips Theme
    Peer Raben
    (3 July 1940 - 21 January 2007)
    "Music for Fassbinder"
    sound file