Oct 10: Lecture: Society, Identity and Hidden Desires (Roger Mitchell)
In his lecture, Roger will trace the development of Fassbinder’s melodramatic style from German Expressionism of the 1920s to the 1950s Hollywood films of German émigré Douglas Sirk, demonstrating in the process how important this much-maligned style has been in the history of world cinema.
Film: Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
The award-winning Fear Eats the Soul is a key film of the New German Cinema (late 1960s-early 1980s) which consisted of a group of essentially disparate filmmakers who had grown up in a divided Germany and were relatively young, innovative and politically radical. Their aim was to create artistically challenging films that investigated the state of contemporary Germany. Importantly, it was this film which brought its influential and highly controversial filmmaker, Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-82), to the attention of an international audience. Thomas Elsaesser describes Fassbinder as a unique filmmaker who transformed the very idea of German cinema. Described as ‘one of the most complex human studies ever recorded to film,’ the film's consideration of prejudice, repression and exploitation is central to Fassbinder’s comment on West German society. Here Fassbinder seeks to expose (what he termed) ‘the everyday fascism of family life and friendship.’ To this end Fassbinder employed a stylised aesthetic inspired by filmic melodrama, a form that was consistently used by him throughout the mid period of his filmmaking career as a means of ironising and exposing the socially repressive nature of everyday life.