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A Companion to Rainer Werner Fassbinder

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9163-0
656 pages
February 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1405191635) cover image


A Companion to Rainer Werner Fassbinder is the first of its kind to engage with this important figure. Twenty-eight essays by an international group of scholars consider this controversial director's contribution to German cinema, German history, gender studies, and auteurship.
  • A fresh collection of original research providing diverse perspectives on Fassbinder’s work in films, television, poetry, and underground theatre.
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder remains the preeminent filmmaker of the New German Cinema whose brief but prolific body of work spans from the latter half of the 1960s to the artist’s death in 1982.
  • Interrogates Fassbinder’s influence on the seminal ideas of his time: auteurship, identity, race, queer studies, and the cataclysmic events of German twentieth century history
  • Contributions from internationally diverse scholars specializing in film, culture, and German studies.
  • Includes coverage of his key films including: Gods of the Plague (1970), Beware of a Holy Whore (1971), The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), Martha (1973) (TV), World on a Wire (1973), Effi Briest (1974), Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), Fox and His Friends (1975),  Fear of Fear (1975), Chinese Roulette (1976), In a Year With 13 Moons (1978), Despair (1978), The Third Generation (1979), Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) (TV), and Querelle (1982).
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors viii

Acknowledgments xiv

Introduction 1
Brigitte Peucker

Part I Life and Work 15

1 The Other Planet Fassbinder 17
Juliane Lorenz

2 R. W. Fassbinder: Prodigal Son, Not Reconciled? 45
Thomas Elsaesser

3 Rainer "Maria" Fassbinder: Cinema between Literature and Life 53
Leo A. Lensing

4 Five Fassbinder Scenes 67
Wayne Koestenbaum

Part II Genre; Influence; Aesthetics 77

5 Imitation, Seriality, Cinema: Early Fassbinder and Godard 79
Laura McMahon

6 Exposed Bodies; Evacuated Identities 101
Claire Kaiser

7 Redressing the Inaccessible through the Re‐Inscribed Body: In a Year with 13 Moons and Almodóvar’s Bad Education 118
Victor Fan

8 Nudity and the Question: Chinese Roulette 142
Eugenie Brinkema

9 Color, Melodrama, and the Problem of Interiority 159
Brian Price

10 Fassbinder's Work : Style, Sirk, and Queer Labor 181
John David Rhodes

11 A Nagging Physical Discomfort: Fassbinder and Martha 204
Joe McElhaney

12 Beyond the Woman's Film: Reflecting Difference in the Fassbinder Melodrama 226
Nadine Schwakopf

13 Through the Looking Glass: Fassbinder's World on a Wire 245
Brad Prager

Part III Other Texts; Other Media 267

14 Violently Oscillating: Science, Repetition, and Affective Transmutation in Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz 269
Elena del Rio

15 In Despair : Performance, Citation, Identity 290
Brigitte Peucker

16 Declined Invitations: Repetition in Fassbinder's Queer "Monomusical" 313
Caryl Flinn

17 Fassbinder's France: Genet's Miseen Scène in Fassbinder's Films 333
Olga Solovieva

18 Un-framing the Image: Theatricality and the Art World of Bitter Tears 352
Brigitte Peucker

19 A Novel Film: Fassbinder's Fontane Effi Briest 372
Elke Siegel

20 Swearing and Forswearing Fidelity in Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz 398
Paul Coates

Part IV History; Ideology; Politics 421

21 "There Are Many Ways to Fight a Battle": Young Fassbinder and the Myths of 1968 423
Eric Rentschler

22 A Generation Later and Still Unrepresentable?: Fassbinder and the Red Army Faction 441
Frances Guerin

23 Two Kinds of Excess: Fassbinder and Veit Harlan 461
Laura J. Heins

24 Jolie Laide: Fassbinder, Anti‐Semitism, and the Jewish Image 485
Rosalind Galt

25 Impossible, Impolitic: Ali: Fear Eats the Soul and Fassbinder's Asynchronous Bodies 502
Elena Gorfinkel

26 "So Much Tenderness": Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Günther Kaufmann, and the Ambivalences of Interracial Desire 516
Tobias Nagl and Janelle Blankenship

27 Rainer, Rosa, and Werner: New Gay Film as Counter-Public 542
Randall Halle

28 Fassbinder's Fox and His Friends and Gay Politics in the 1970s 564
Ronald Gregg

29 Querelle's Finality 579
Roy Grundmann

Selected Bibliography 604

Index 623

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Author Information

Brigitte Peucker is the Elias Leavenworth Professor of German and a Professor of Film Studies at Yale University. Peucker is the author of many essays on questions of representation in film and literature. Earlier books include Lyric Descent in the German Romantic Tradition (1987), Incorporating Images: Film and the Rival Arts (1995), and The Material Image: Art and the Real in Film (2007).
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"This account includes interesting points of view that compliment and supplement one another as they shed light on a complex film practice and its practitioner." (NeoPopRealism Journal, 2011)

“A welcome reminder of Fassbinder's astonishing breadth and continued resonance, this wide-ranging and brilliant collection of essays is an indispensable resource.” -- Anton Kaes, University of California, Berkeley

“As varied, replete, and edgy as Fassbinder’s work itself, and as deftly edited, this montage of essays takes the measure not just of an oeuvre but of an epoch.” -- Garrett Stewart, author of Framed Timed: Toward a Postfilmic Cinema

“Few filmmakers in the history of cinema have been as productive, as important, and as provocative as R. W. Fassbinder.  With this stellar collection of essays, the achievements of his career unfold in all their astonishing range and diversity, across all their beauties and shocks, with all their pleasures and difficulties.” -- Timothy Corrigan, University of Pennsylvania

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