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96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fassbinder box set mania, 30 Nov 2007
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This review is from: Rainer Werner Fassbinder Commemorative Collection Volume 1 - 1969-1972 [DVD] (DVD)
The release of the vast Fassbinder catalogue on dvd seems a dream come true - co-ordinated box sets featuring (nearly) all the director's films in chronological order, with all the relevant documentaries & shorts. Fassbinder was so prolific that, if you are a big fan, box sets are the only affordable, practical & sensible way to go, especially given the large discounts you regularly find on boxes.
So what are the options?
Arrow box set RWF #1 "69-72" features the first 9 mostly experimental slow minimalist/pastiche films.
Arrow box set RWF #2 "73-82" features 8 films from Fassbinder's more polished, focused and successful mid 1970s period.
Artificial Eye box set #1 has 3 films plus a full-length documentary (note: NOT the actual film I Only Want You to Love Me).
Artificial Eye box set #2 has 4 films (looks a rather daunting selection!). As far as I can tell these Artificial Eye box sets are not really themed, but kind of round up films from RWF's late period (& have lots of extras).
The Second Sight box set presents Fassbinder's magnum opus Berlin Alexanderplatz on 6 discs.
There are no duplications across any of these releases (but there are still a few films missing).
I went for Arrow box set #1 "69-72" in the Amazon half-price pre-order sale because I like the early stuff best. This box is basic - there is no booklet & apart from trailers not many extras other than those on the Merchant & Petra Von Kant discs, but generally the packaging & presentation is fine & all the films have been restored by the RWF Foundation (though the original prints are often quite low-budget & rough). The early stuff may be derivative of Godard & French new wave but Fassbinder's sensibility is so different from his cinematic influences that the films now look utterly original & unique. Most of the films in box #1 are black comedies, droll rather than grim - the noir thriller parodies like Love is Colder than Death, Gods of Plague & American Soldier (uncut version) are "successful" whereas some of the other films might, individually, be "failures", but over 9 discs each film seems primarily like an episode in the intense psychodrama unfolding within the Fassbinder troupe of actors. All the films are pretty uncompromising & probably not for the uninitiated, but the set ends strongly with Beware the Holy Whore (a distant precursor of Almodovar?) and the first real "hits" - Merchant of Four Seasons & Petra Von Kant (the definitive Fassbinder film?) Overall, a fascinating if challenging collection. And addictive. I already need another box set...
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Dec 2010 21:04:32 GMT
thanks nice review...are the dvd restored? how is the video quality? thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2011 01:20:38 GMT
The dvds are mainly all restored, one of them was shot on 16mm and doesn't look great though. You can find a review with screen caps for the set on The Digital Fix website
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