I’ve been watching all the Fassbinder films I can get my hands on in chronological order and find this the culmination of his early works, a great film about filmmaking to rank alongside Minnelli’s TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN (1962) Godard’s CONTEMPT (1963) or Truffaut’s DAY FOR NIGHT (1973). Richard hasn’t seen a Fassbinder film for two decades and finds it harder to get into. We discuss the structure, the marvellous visual and dramatic handling of a very large cast, the gorgeous glossy look –surprising in Fassbinder films to this point — and snake-like long takes (Michael Ballhaus is the cinematographer), the psycho-sexual power dynamics in the narrative and we admire Hannah Schygulla. A main take-away from this conversation with Richard is how Fassbinder’s early work points to a type of cinema and a type of queer representation that the AIDS pandemic brought an end to and of which QUERELLE might be a nodal point. BEWARE OF A HOLY WHORE is ostensibly based on Fassbinder’s experience of filming WHITY (1971) but it is a difficult film to see at this point and that aspect has largely been left out of the discussion.
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