Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-546b4f848f-bvkm5 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-06-02T10:08:04.751Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Chapter 8 - Rainer Werner Fassbinder and the Emergence of Queer Cinema: The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972), Fox and His Friends (1975) and In a Year with 13 Moons (1978)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2023

Get access

Summary

Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945–82), a leading figure in the New German Cinema, plays an important role in this story for two reasons. First, the films of his middle period show how traces of the Hollywood melodrama were incorporated into the European auteur male psychological drama. Second, a number of Fassbinder’s key films attest to his importance in the emergence of queer-themed cinema, even though his contribution in this regard has tended to be overlooked. Fassbinder, like his Italian counterpart, Pier Paolo Pasolini, was strongly motivated by political concerns, affirming, “I don’t make any films which aren’t political.” Accordingly, his films deliver a scathing indictment of class pretensions, divisions, and prejudices, and it is upon this dimension that most scholarship has concentrated. Fassbinder’s films are nevertheless also deeply personal, reflecting his belief that people need “to find their own opportunities for change.” For that to happen, he said, a filmmaker needs “to translate everything into something that relate[s] to himself and his own reality.” This chapter will explore the personal dimension of Fassbinder’s by analyzing three films from his middle period.

Fassbinder’s personality is marked by paradoxes: on one hand, he sought love and respect ceaselessly; on the other, he destroyed the possibility of achieving a lasting relationship by subjecting his lovers to outrageous cruelty. He was also highly self-destructive—a masochist who could be as cruel to himself as he was to others, damaging his body with an excessive cocktail of drugs and alcohol in a way that would ultimately result in his premature death at the age of 37. At the same time as he sank into ever-deeper self-loathing, he became a cult figure for leftist radicals and members of the counterculture who rejoiced in his contestatory politics and his provocative flouting of social norms. During his short career, he made forty-four films in a mere 14 years, not to mention his writing of numerous stage plays, his essays, or his videos. In both his personal and professional life, he was driven by a need to protect himself against fears that had been generated by a traumatizing upbringing. Melodrama was the genre he chose as the vehicle for his most penetrating fictional investigations of the forces that drove him.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×