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on 15 August 2011
The four films contained in this box set should appeal to anyone who is a fan of Fassbinder, and indeed anyone who is interested in worthwhile, thought provoking cinema.
'Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss' features a wonderful performance by Rosel Zech in the lead role. The film looks at Veronika's fall from grace as a once popular film star during the Third Reich to her emotional disintegration and morphine addiction and the strange relationships with the people around her including her doctor who supplies her with morphine and a journalist who becomes interested in her and wants to write about her. The film is deliberately shot in black and white for aesthetic reasons, the cameraman who suggested this believed the contrast between light and shadow creates more striking images, and I think he has a point. The films visual style and Rosel Zech's performance make this one of my favourite Fassbinder films.
`Die Dritte Generation' is Fassbinder's fictional take on the activities of of a group of bourgeois terrorists in the 1970s, offering both a critique of their somewhat dubious methods and motivations but also on the authorities handling of the situation, which is typical of Fassbinder's style as he likes to criticize everything he considers to be false or flawed in society rather than take sides or support any particular political viewpoint. The film, although good, is somewhat overshadowed by the brilliant `Deutschland im Herbst' which was made by a group of filmmakers about the period of german history known as `Deutschen Herbst' i.e. events which took place in the Autumn of 1977. This was a difficult time in Germany as there seemed to be growing disillusionment in some sections of society with the democratic process, many people believing that a more authoritarian government was needed to deal with the problem, plus there was a media blackout on the events which made informed discussion on the subject difficult, and this film was designed to make people think about the events in a more informed and balanced way. It is a mixture of documentary using archive footage as well as fictional scenes where characters discuss various themes pertaining to the situation, and the film should appeal to anyone with an interest in german history or indeed sociology and democracy.
The other film featured here, 'In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden', is about a man who goes to the lengths of becoming a woman to please his lover and is interesting but a trifle too bizarre in my opinion and I wasn't sure what to make of it but perhaps you will be able to make something of it.
Overall I think this box set deserves 5 stars as Fassbinder is a genius and `Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss' and `Deutschland im Herbst' are outstanding.
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