A stark and minimalistic glimpse at disillusioned German youth (circa 1969), Katzelmacher comes courtesy of celebrated filmmaker Werner Fassbinder…and is artfully dull. Sure, the filmmaker latched onto the ‘disaffected slacker’ vibe long before they were even called ‘slackers’ and the movie forwards its simple (yet effective) messages capably..and yet still I was bored.There are long stretches in which literally nothing happens; just people standing on a street. Yes, these sequences are meant to convey how aimless and drab the youths are - but there’s a certain sense of irritation that comes with watching unpleasant people doing nothing.
Much of the dialogue consists of arguments and epithets about girl X being a dirty slut, and how painfully difficult it is to financially maintain a lifestyle consisting solely of sex, drugs and complaining.
The unhappy German troupe finds a target for derision when a Greek immigrant moves into the neighborhood. Afraid he’ll steal local jobs and (more importantly) local women, the angry young men band together to beat the hell out of him. Overt societal disillusionment with a healthy dose of violently expressed xenophobia. Understood.
Prior to his death in 1982, Werner Fassbinder was considered one of the most original and gifted (and troubled) German filmmakers ever, and I’d certainly never be one to bash an experimental foreign flick from 1969 (since my experience with such films is almost non-existent). Fans of unblinkingly ‘artistic’ flicks may appreciate the movie a lot more than I, as my own modern American culture has ruined me for anything truly abstract.So it’s not really my fault; blame The Brady Bunch!