Rainer Werner Fassbinder

About Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Who is it?: Writer, Director, Actor
Birth Day: May 31, 1945
Birth Place:  Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria, Germany, Germany
Cause of death: Cocaine and barbiturate overdose
Resting place: Bogenhausener Friedhof
Occupation: Filmmaker, actor, playwright, theatre director and essayist
Years active: 1965–1982
Spouse(s): Ingrid Caven (m. 1970; div. 1972)
Website: www.fassbinderfoundation.de

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder was born on May 31, 1945 in  Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria, Germany, Germany, is Writer, Director, Actor. Above all, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a rebel whose life and art was marked by gross contradiction. Openly homosexual, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. Accused variously by detractors of being anticommunist, male chauvinist, antiSemitic and even antigay, he completed 44 projects between 1966 and 1982, the majority of which can be characterized as highly intelligent social melodramas. His prodigious output was matched by a wild, self-destructive libertinage that earned him a reputation as the enfant terrible of the New German Cinema (as well as its central figure.) Known for his trademark leather jacket and grungy appearance, Fassbinder cruised the bar scene by night, looking for sex and drugs, yet he maintained a flawless work ethic by day. Actors and actresses recount disturbing stories of his brutality toward them, yet his pictures demonstrate his deep sensitivity to social misfits and his hatred of institutionalized violence. Some find his cinema needlessly controversial and avant-garde; others accuse him of surrendering to the Hollywood ethos. It is best said that he drew forth strong emotional reactions from all he encountered, both in his personal and professional lives, and this provocative nature can be experienced posthumously through reviewing his artistic legacy.Fassbinder was born into a bourgeois Bavarian family in 1946. His father was a doctor and his mother a translator. In order to have time for her work, his mother frequently sent him the movies, a practice that gave birth to his obsession with the medium. Later in life, he would claim that he saw a film nearly every day and sometimes as many as three or four. At the age of 15, Fassbinder defiantly declared his homosexuality, soon after which he left school and took a job. He studied theater in the mid-sixties at the Fridl-Leonhard Studio in Munich and joined the Action Theater (aka, Anti-Theater) in 1967. Unlike the other major auteurs of the New German Cinema (e.g., Schlöndorff, Herzog and Wenders) who started out making movies, Fassbinder acquired an extensive stage background that is evident throughout his work. Additionally, he learned how to handle all phases of production, from writing and acting to direction and theater management. This versatility later surfaced in his films where, in addition to some of the aforementioned responsibilities, Fassbinder served as composer, production designer, cinematographer, producer and editor. [So boundless was his energy, in fact, that he appeared in 30 projects of other directors.] In his theater years, he also developed a repertory company that included his mother, two of his wives and various male and female lovers. Coupled with his ability to serve in nearly any crew capacity, this gave him the ability to produce his films quickly and on extremely low budgets.Success was not immediate for Fassbinder. His first feature length film, a gangster movie called Liebe ist kälter als der Tod (1969) was greeted by catcalls at the Berlin Film Festival. His next piece, Katzelmacher (1969), was a minor critical success, garnering five prizes after its debut at Mannheim. It featured Jorgos, an emigrant from Greece, who encounters violent xenophobic slackers in moving into an all-German neighborhood. This kind of social criticism, featuring alienated characters unable to escape the forces of oppression, is a constant throughout Fassbinder's diverse oeuvre. In subsequent years, he made such controversial films about human savagery such as Pioniere in Ingolstadt (1971) and Whity (1971) before scoring his first domestic commercial success with Händler der vier Jahreszeiten (1972). This moving portrait of a street vendor crushed by the betrayal and his own futility is considered a masterpiece, as is his first international success Angst essen Seele auf (1974) (Fear Eats the Soul). With a wider audience for his efforts, however, some critics contend that Fassbinder began to sell out with big budget projects such as Despair (1978), Lili Marleen (1981) and Lola (1981). In retrospect, however, it seems that the added fame simply enabled Fassbinder to explore various kinds of filmmaking, including such "private" works as In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden (1978) and Die dritte Generation (1979), two films about individual experience and feelings. His greatest success came with Die Ehe der Maria Braun (1979) (The Marriage of Maria Braun), chronicling the rise and fall of a German woman in the wake of World War II. Other notable movies include Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (1972), Faustrecht der Freiheit (1975), Satansbraten (1976) and Querelle (1982), all focused on gay and lesbian themes and frequently with a strongly pornographic edge.His death is a perfect picture of the man and his legend. On the night of June 10, 1982, Fassbinder took an overdose of cocaine and sleeping pills. When he was found, the unfinished script for a version of Rosa Luxemburg was lying next to him. So boundless was his drive and creativity that, throughout his downward spiral and even in the moment of his death, Fassbinder never ceased to be productive.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder is a member of Writer

Does Rainer Werner Fassbinder Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Rainer Werner Fassbinder has been died on 10 June 1982(1982-06-10) (aged 37)\nMunich, West Germany.

🎂 Rainer Werner Fassbinder - Age, Bio, Faces and Birthday

When Rainer Werner Fassbinder die, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was 37 years old.

Popular As Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Occupation Writer
Age 37 years old
Zodiac Sign Gemini
Born May 31, 1945 ( Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria, Germany, Germany)
Birthday May 31
Town/City  Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria, Germany, Germany
Nationality Germany

🌙 Zodiac

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s zodiac sign is Gemini. According to astrologers, Gemini is expressive and quick-witted, it represents two different personalities in one and you will never be sure which one you will face. They are sociable, communicative and ready for fun, with a tendency to suddenly get serious, thoughtful and restless. They are fascinated with the world itself, extremely curious, with a constant feeling that there is not enough time to experience everything they want to see.

🌙 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Rainer Werner Fassbinder was born in the Year of the Rooster. Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rooster are practical, resourceful, observant, analytical, straightforward, trusting, honest, perfectionists, neat and conservative. Compatible with Ox or Snake.

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Set in 1876, Whity centers on the title character, a mulatto who works as the obsequious servant in the mansion of a dysfunctional family in the American South. He is the illegitimate son of the family patriarch and the black cook. Whity tries to carry out all their orders, however demeaning, until several of the family members ask him to kill some of the others. He eventually kills them all and runs away to the desert with a prostitute from the local bar.


Effi Briest was Fassbinder's dream film and the one in which he invested the most work. While he normally took between nine and 20 days to make a film, this time it required 58 shooting days, dragged out over two years. The film is a period piece adapted from Theodor Fontane's classic novel of 1894, concerning the consequences of betrayed love. Set in the closed, repressive Prussian society of the Bismarck era, the film paints a portrait of a woman's fate completely linked to an unbending and utterly unforgiving code of social behavior. The plot follows the story of Effi Briest, a young woman who seeks to escape her stifling marriage to a much older man by entering into a brief affair with a charming soldier. Six years later, Effi's husband discovers her affair with tragic consequences.


Pioneers in Ingolstadt (Pioniere in Ingolstadt) was adapted from an eponymous play by Marieluise Fleißer written in 1927. It follows two young women whose lives are transformed when army Engineers (the pioneers of the title) arrive to their town to build a bridge. One of the women flirts from soldier to soldier, but her friend falls in love only to be abandoned.


Returning to his explorations of German history, Fassbinder finally realized his dream of adapting Alfred Döblin's 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz. A television series running more than 13 hours, with a two-hour coda (released in the U.S. as a 15-hour feature), it was the culmination of the director's inter-related themes of love, life, and power.


There are no happy endings in Fassbinder's films. His protagonists, usually weak men or women with masochistic tendencies, pay a heavy price for their victimization. The Stationmaster's Wife (de) (Bolwieser) is based on a 1931 novel, Bolwieser: The Novel Of a Husband by the Bavarian Writer Oskar Maria Graf. The plot follows the downfall of Xaver Bolwieser, a railway stationmaster submitted to the will of his domineering and unfaithful wife, whose repeated infidelities completely ruin Bolwieser's life. Broadcast initially as a two-part television series, The Stationmaster's Wife was shortened to a 112-minute feature film and released in the first anniversary of Fassbinder's death. The film stars Kurt Raab, Fassbinder's close friend who the Director usually cast as a pathetic man. Raab was also set designer of Fassbinder's films until their friendship and professional relationship broke up after making this film.


Like a Bird on a Wire (Wie ein Vogel auf dem Draht) is a forty-minute television production featuring Brigitte Mira, the main Actress in Fear eats the Soul, singing cabaret songs and love ballads from the 1940s and 1950s. Between songs, she drinks and talks about her husbands. The title is borrowed from Leonard Cohen's song "Bird on the Wire", with which the program ends.


Fassbinder was born in the small town of Bad Wörishofen on 31 May 1945. He was born three weeks after the Allies occupied the town and the unconditional surrender of Germany. The aftermath of World War II deeply marked his childhood and the lives of his family. In compliance with his mother's wishes, Fassbinder later claimed he was born in 1946, to more clearly establish himself as a child of the post-war period; his real age was revealed shortly before his death. He was the only child of Liselotte Pempeit (1922–93), a translator, and Helmut Fassbinder, a Doctor who worked out of the couple's apartment in Sendlinger Straße, near Munich's red light district. When he was three months old, he was left with a paternal uncle and aunt in the country, since his parents feared he would not survive the winter with them. He was a year old when he was returned to his parents in Munich. Fassbinder's mother came from the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland), from which many Germans had fled following World War II. As a result, a number of her relatives came to live with them in Munich.


Fassbinder won the Golden Bear at the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival for Veronika Voss. The original German title, Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss, translates as "The longing of Veronika Voss". Set in the 1950s, the film depicts the twilight years of the title character, a faded Nazi starlet. A Sports reporter becomes enthralled by the unbalanced Actress and discovers that she is under the power of a villainous Doctor who supplies her with the drugs she craves so long as she can pay the exorbitant fee. Despite the reporter's best attempts, he is unable to save her from a terrible end.


Fassbinder's parents were cultured members of the bourgeoisie. His father mainly concentrated on his career, which he saw as a means to indulge his passion for writing poetry. His mother largely ignored him as well, spending the majority of her time with her husband working on his career. In 1951, Liselotte Pempeit and Helmut Fassbinder divorced. Helmut moved to Cologne while Liselotte raised her son as a single parent in Munich In order to support herself and her child, Pempeit took in boarders and found employment as a German to English translator. When she was working, she often sent her son to the cinema to pass time. Later in life, Fassbinder claimed that he saw at least a film a day, sometimes even four a day. During this period, Pempeit was often away from her son for long periods while she recuperated from tuberculosis. In his mother's absence, Fassbinder was looked after by his mother's tenants and friends. As he was often left alone, he became used to the independence and thus, became a Juvenile delinquent. He clashed with his mother's younger lover Siggi, who lived with them when Fassbinder was around eight or nine years old. He had a similar difficult relationship with the much older Journalist Wolff Eder (c.1905–71), who became his stepfather in 1959. Early in his adolescence, Fassbinder came out as a homosexual.


Fear Eats the Soul was loosely inspired by Sirk's All That Heaven Allows (1955). It details the vicious response of family and community to a lonely aging white cleaning lady who marries a muscular, much younger black Moroccan immigrant worker. The two are drawn to each other out of mutual loneliness. When their relationship becomes known, they experience various forms of hostility and public rejection. Gradually, their relationship is tolerated, not out of real acceptance, but because those around the good-hearted old lady realize their ability to exploit her is threatened. As the external pressures over the couple begin to subside, internal conflicts surface.


In the last four years of his life, his companion was Juliane Lorenz (born 1957), the Editor of his films during the last years of his life. She can be seen in a small role as the film producer's secretary in Veronika Voss. According to Lorenz, they considered getting married but never did so. Although they were reported drifting apart in his last year, an accusation Lorenz has denied, they were still living together at the time of his death.


In 1963, aged eighteen, Fassbinder returned to Munich with plans to attend night school with the idea to eventually study drama. Following his mother's advice, he took acting lessons and from 1964 to 1966 attended the Fridl-Leonhard Studio for actors in Munich. There, he met Hanna Schygulla, who would become one of his most important actors. During this time, he made his first 8mm films and took on small acting roles, assistant Director, and sound man. During this period, he also wrote the tragic-comic play: Drops on Hot Stones. To gain entry to the Berlin Film School, Fassbinder submitted a film version of his play Parallels. He also entered several 8 mm films including This Night (now considered lost), but he was turned down for admission, as were Werner Schroeter and Rosa von Praunheim who would also have careers as film Directors.


A story of realities within realities, World on a Wire follows a researcher, working at the institute of cybernetics and Future science, who begins to investigate the mysterious death of his mentor. He falls deep into the cover up behind a computer capable of creating an artificial world with units living as human beings unaware that their world is just a computer projection. Made in contemporary Paris, the film was stylistically inspired by Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965) and in its theme of artificial humans wanting to reach real life anticipated Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982).


In 1967 Fassbinder joined the Munich Action-Theater, where he was active as an actor, Director and script Writer. After two months he became the company's leader. In April 1968 Fassbinder directed the premiere production of his play Katzelmacher, which tells the story of a foreign worker from Greece who becomes the object of intense racial, sexual, and political hatred among a group of Bavarian slackers. A few weeks later, in May 1968, the Action-Theater was disbanded after its theater was wrecked by one of its founders, jealous of Fassbinder's growing power within the group. It promptly reformed as the Anti-Theater under Fassbinder's direction. The troupe lived and performed together. This close-knit group of young actors included among them Fassbinder, Peer Raben, Harry Baer and Kurt Raab, who along with Hanna Schygulla and Irm Hermann became the most important members of his cinematic stock company. Working with the Anti-Theater, Fassbinder continued writing, directing and acting. In the space of eighteen months he directed twelve plays. Of these twelve plays, four were written by Fassbinder; he rewrote five others.


In 1969, while portraying the lead role in the TV film Baal under the direction of Volker Schlöndorff, Fassbinder met Günther Kaufmann, a black Bavarian actor who had a minor role in the film. Despite the fact that Kaufmann was married and had two children, Fassbinder fell madly in love with him. The two began a turbulent affair which ultimately affected the production of Baal. Fassbinder tried to buy Kaufmann's love by casting him in major roles in his films and buying him expensive gifts.


Although he claimed to be opposed to matrimony as an institution, in 1970 Fassbinder married Ingrid Caven, an Actress who regularly appeared in his films. Their wedding reception was recycled in the film he was making at that time, The American Soldier. Their relationship of mutual admiration survived the complete failure of their two-year marriage. "Ours was a love story in spite of the marriage," Caven explained in an interview, adding about her former husband's sexuality: "Rainer was a homosexual who also needed a woman. It's that simple and that complex." The three most important women of Fassbinder's life, Irm Hermann, Ingrid Caven and Juliane Lorenz, his last partner, were not disturbed by his homosexuality.


In 1971, Fassbinder began a relationship with El Hedi ben Salem, a Moroccan Berber who had left his wife and five children the previous year, after meeting him at a gay bathhouse in Paris. Over the next three years, Salem appeared in several Fassbinder productions. His best known role was "Ali" in Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974). Their three-year relationship was punctuated with jealousy, violence and heavy drug and alcohol use. Fassbinder finally ended the relationship in 1974 due to Salem's chronic alcoholism and tendency to become violent when he drank. Shortly after the breakup, Salem stabbed three people (none fatally) in Berlin and had to be smuggled out of Berlin. Salem eventually made his way to France where he was arrested and imprisoned. He hanged himself while in custody in 1977. News of Salem's suicide was kept from Fassbinder for years. He eventually found out about his former lover's death shortly before his own death in 1982 and dedicated his last film, Querelle, to Salem.


Loneliness is a Common theme in Fassbinder's work, together with the idea that power becomes a determining factor in all human relationships. His characters yearn for love, but seem condemned to exert an often violent control over those around them. A good Example is The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant, 1972) which was adapted by Fassbinder from his plays. The title character is a fashion designer who lives in a self-created dreamland and the action is restricted mostly to her lavish bedroom. After the failure of her second marriage, Petra falls hopelessly and obsessively in love with Karin, a cunning working-class young woman who wants a career in modeling. The model's exploitation of Petra mirrors Petra's extraordinary psychological abuse of her silent assistant, Marlene. Fassbinder portrays the slow meltdown of these relationships as inevitable, and his actresses (there are no men in the film) move in a slow, trance-like way that hints at a vast world of longing beneath the beautiful, brittle surface.


His only science fiction film, World on a Wire (Welt am Draht, 1973) was a departure for Fassbinder. An adaptation of the pulp sci-fi novel Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye, it was made as a two-part, 205 minute production for television using 16 mm film stock during a hiatus from the lengthy production of Effi Briest and in the same year as Martha and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul.


In Fox and His Friends (Faustrecht der Freiheit, 1974) a sweet but unsophisticated working-class homosexual wins the lottery and falls in love with the elegant son of an industrialist. His lover tries to mold him into a gilt-edged mirror of upper-class values, all the while appropriating Fox' lottery winnings for his own ends. He ultimately destroys his illusions, leaving him heartbroken and destitute.


Gay critics also complained of misrepresentation in Fox and his Friends. Conservatives attacked him for his association with the radical left. Marxists said he had sold out his political principles in his depictions of left-intellectual manipulations in Mother Küsters' Trip to Heaven and of a late-blooming terrorist in The Third Generation. Berlin Alexanderplatz was moved to a late night television slot amid widespread complaints that it was unsuitable for children. The most heated criticism came for his play Trash, the City, and Death, whose scheduled performance at the Theater am Turm in Frankfurt was cancelled early in 1975 amid charges of anti-semitism. Though published at the time, and quickly withdrawn, the play was not performed until five years after Fassbinder's death by Thieves Theatre in 1987 at ABC No Rio. In the turmoil, Fassbinder resigned from his directorship of that prestigious theater complex, complaining that the play had been misinterpreted.


In a time of professional crisis, Fassbinder made Satan's Brew (Satansbraten, 1976) a bleak amoral comedy that pays homage to Antonin Artaud's theatre of cruelty. Stylistically far from the melodramas that made him known internationally, Satan's Brew gave way to a new phase in his career. In Satan's Brew, a neurotic poet suffering from writer's block struggles to make ends meet while dealing with a frustrated long suffering wife, a half witted brother and various prostitutes and masochist women who drift in and out of his life. He convinces himself to be the reincarnation of the gay romantic poet Stefan George (1868–1933) after he plagiarizes his poem The Albatros.


Irm Hermann idolized him, but Fassbinder tormented and tortured her for over a decade. This included domestic violence: "He couldn't conceive of my refusing him, and he tried everything. He almost beat me to death on the streets of Bochum ..." In 1977, Hermann became romantically involved with another man and became pregnant by him. Fassbinder proposed to her and offered to adopt the child; she turned him down.


Fassbinder's next lover was Armin Meier. Meier was a near illiterate former butcher who had spent his early years in an orphanage. He also appeared in several Fassbinder films in this period. A glimpse into their troubled relationship can be seen in Fassbinder's episode for Germany in Autumn (1978). Fassbinder ended the relationship in April 1978. During the week of Fassbinder's birthday (31 May), Meier deliberately consumed four bottles of sleeping pills and alcohol in the kitchen of the apartment he and Fassbinder had previously shared. His body was found a week later.


The economic success of The Marriage of Maria Braun allowed Fassbinder to pay his debts and to embark on a personal project, The Third Generation (Die Dritte Generation, 1979), a black comedy about terrorism. Fassbinder found financial backing for this film difficult to acquire and it was ultimately made on a small budget and borrowed money. As he did with In a Year of Thirteen Moons, Fassbinder worked again as the film's cameraman.


Theater In Trance is a documentary which Fassbinder shot in Cologne in June 1981 at the "Theaters of the World" Festival. Over scenes from groups such as the Squat Theatre and the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch Fassbinder spoke passages from Antonin Artaud as well as his own commentary.


By the time he made his last film, Querelle (1982), Fassbinder was using drugs and alcohol as a way to assist his unrelenting schedule. On the night of 9–10 June 1982, Wolf Gremm, Director of the film Kamikaze 1989 (1982), which starred Fassbinder, was staying in his apartment. Early that evening, Fassbinder retired to his bedroom. He was working on notes for a Future film, Rosa L, based on the life of Polish-German revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg. Fassbinder was watching television while reading when, shortly after 1 a.m., he received a phone call from his friend and assistant Harry Baer. At 3:30 a.m, when Juliane Lorenz arrived home, she heard the noise of the television in Fassbinder's room, but she could not hear him snoring. Though not allowed to enter the room uninvited, she went in and discovered his lifeless body with a cigarette still between his lips. A thin ribbon of blood trickled from one nostril.


The film was shot in Almeria, Spain in widescreen on locations built for the Westerns made by Sergio Leone. Its production was particularly traumatic for cast and crew. Whity, a mixture of Euro-western and American South melodrama, was badly received by the critics and became Fassbinder's biggest flop. The film was neither picked up for theatrical release nor was there interest for broadcasting it on television. As a result, Whity was only seen as its premiere. It remained unavailable until the 1990s when it began to be screened and now, like almost all of Fassbinder's films, is available on DVD.


Fassbinder's work as a filmmaker was honored in the 2007 exhibition Fassbinder: Berlin Alexanderplatz, which was organized by Klaus Biesenbach at the Museum of Contemporary Art together with Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. For his exhibition at MoMA, Klaus Biesenbach received the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) award.


Despair – A journey into the Light (Despair – Eine Reise ins Licht) tells the story of Hermann Hermann, an unbalanced Russian émigré and chocolate magnate, whose Business and marriage have both grown bitter. The factory is close to bankruptcy, and his vulgar wife is chronically unfaithful. He hatches an elaborate plot to take a new identity in the belief it will free him of all his worries. The story of Hermann's descent into madness is juxtaposed against the rise of National Socialism in the Germany of the 1930s.


However, as enthusiasm for Fassbinder grew outside of Germany, his films still failed to impress the native audience. At home, he was better known for his television work and for his open homosexuality. Coupled with the controversial issues of his films — terrorism, state violence, racism, sexual politics — it seemed that everything Fassbinder did provoked or offended someone.

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