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Fassbinder

Fassbinder

[fahs-bin-der]
Fassbinder, Rainer Werner, 1946-82, German filmmaker, b. Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria. One of the most highly regarded and prolific directors of the post-World War II generation and a leading figure in modern German cinema, he began his career as an actor in Munich's avant-garde theater and established his own ensemble in the late 1960s. Beginning (1969) to work in cinema, he used an informal repertory group to make over 40 films in rapid succession, often completing them in three to four weeks. His work is generally characterized by harsh originality, political and social cynicism, and a pessimism that often shades into despair. Influenced by Brecht, Marx, Freud, and the filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Douglas Sirk, he worked in a number of cinematic genres, often mingling politics and melodrama.

Fassbinder also wrote, produced, edited, and acted in many of his films. His works include Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? (1969), The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978), and Lola and Veronika Voss (both: 1982). He is also known for his television work, notably Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), a 15-hour adaptation of Alfred Döblin's 1929 novel that portrays Berlin between the world wars. Fassbinder made two films in English, Despair (1977) and Querrelle (1982). Avid in his manner of filmmaking and in his pursuit of dissipation, he died of an overdose of alcohol and drugs.

See his Anarchy of the Imagination: Interviews, Essays, Notes (1992); biographies by R. Katz (1987), R. Hayman (1984), and C. B. Thomsen (1997, repr. 2004); studies by J. Shattuc (1995), T. Elsaesser (1996), W. S. Watson (1996), and L. Kardish, ed. (1997).

(born May 31, 1946, Bad Wörishofen, W.Ger.—died June 10, 1982, Munich) German film director. He was involved in the avant-garde theatre movement in Munich and helped form the Antitheatre (1967). His first full-length film (1969) was followed by 40 others, produced in a short period, including The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), Effi Briest (1974), The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), the 15-hour Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), Lola (1981), and Veronika Voss (1982). Regarded as a leader of the German New Wave, he helped revitalize German cinema in the 1970s and '80s. His socially and politically conscious films often explore themes of oppression and despair.

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(born May 31, 1946, Bad Wörishofen, W.Ger.—died June 10, 1982, Munich) German film director. He was involved in the avant-garde theatre movement in Munich and helped form the Antitheatre (1967). His first full-length film (1969) was followed by 40 others, produced in a short period, including The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), Effi Briest (1974), The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), the 15-hour Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), Lola (1981), and Veronika Voss (1982). Regarded as a leader of the German New Wave, he helped revitalize German cinema in the 1970s and '80s. His socially and politically conscious films often explore themes of oppression and despair.

Learn more about Fassbinder, Rainer Werner with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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