Enfant Terrible: Loosely Based Biopic on an Audacious New Wave Auteur
Filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder He was a central figure in the shaping of cinema after World War II and became one of the leading auteur filmmakers of the New German Cinema. His works ranged from melodrama (The bitter tears of Petra von Kant), to science fiction noir (World on a wire), to the gothic thriller (Chinese roulette), and ends in a gay fantasy mixed with murder (Fight). To say that Fassbinder’s work was extensive is an understatement. With at least 21 movies made in his short life of 37 years, he was an intense talent that left us too soon. With that intensity, there are several stories of how he treated his actors and friends. I heard one of these stories about how he would film without sound to torment his actors and double their voices in post-production. Ironically, he satirizes his own alleged harassment in Watch out for a holy whore so that what is real and what is fantasy is difficult to discern. Enfant Terrible
Enfant terrible, produced by ARTE and distributed by Dark Star Pictures, offers us a biographical film loosely based on life. loves and works of Fassbinder.
The film begins with Fassbinder (Oliver Masucci) leaving his mark at the Action-Theater in Munich in 1967. He then assembles his troupe of actors composed of his transvestite 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), along with the handsome but harassed Gunter Kaufman (Michael Klammer). Fassbinder struggles at first, but manages to find his muse and lover in El Hedi ben Salem (Erdal Yildiz). As Fassbinder’s films take off, self-destruction and tragedy drag him into his own personal hell from which he cannot escape, sealing his fate with sex, drugs and the death of the people he cares about, tormenting him to his fatal demise. .
Co-written and directed by Oskar Roehler, Enfant terrible It is designed with intrigue, as it provides the feel of a filmed play with its fake sets and artificial backdrops. While some viewers may find Markus Schutz’s art direction confusing, Fassbinder would use these devices, as many of his films were based on works he had written or adapted (Petra von Kant and Querelle’s Bitter Tears come to mind. ). Although the timeline as the movie jumps from love is Colder Than Death (1968) a Ali: fear eats the soul (1974) and he misses many important films in Fassbinder’s work, the meta feel of this film with the biopic turning into a play with the actors playing their specific roles at all times provides its appeal. Despite the story’s inaccuracies (which the biopic doesn’t) coupled with his distorted characterizations that felt intentional, Mr. Roehler provides us with a biography of melodramatic proportions that seem satirical at first but provide bespoke shadows. as the movie progresses.
Oliver Masucci gets involved as the unpredictable but over the top Fassbinder, where he takes sadism and brutality to new levels. Anton Rattinger is excellent with his overblown acting as Britta. Hary Prinz is fantastic as the obnoxious but hurtful Kurt Raab. I especially enjoyed Katja Riemann’s performance when naive Gudrun turned hardened. This movie has been chosen by experts and no weak performance can be found. Enfant Terrible
For Fassbinder fans, Enfant terrible it will be greeted with derision. As I am not an expert on anyone’s biographies, I applaud Mr. Roehler for his bravery, as illustrating anyone’s personality, especially one shrouded in fables and controversy, is a tall mountain to climb. If you enjoy a biography that may have some basis of fact but not the truth in its entirety and is in it to annihilate an artist and the curiosity of how everything went wrong to some extent, then check out this cinematic offering.
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