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Beware of a Holy Whore
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by Greg Muskewitz

"... the perversity of self-mockery ..."
4 stars

A self-reflexive black comedy about filmmaking (immediate thoughts of Day for Night), or more specifically, a black comedy about Fassbinderís style of filmmaking.

When the film opens, the cast and crew of a German film about ďhuman brutalityĒ (Fassbinderís theme of choice) are cooped up in a disreputable Spanish hotel by the shore, awaiting the arrival of one of the actors (Eddie Constantine as himself) as well as the director (Lou Castel, accoutered with Fassbinderís leather jacket). A producer has pulled out from the project, taking away a large source of funding, and the materials ordered from Germany havenít come either. (Fassbinder stars as a screaming production assistant.) When the director does show up, itís hell on the set for everyone, all of whom are either between exhaustive ennui, drunken stupor, emotional frustration, promiscuity, displacement, or a combination thereof. The backstory behind the film, according to the cast, is that its depiction is a direct result from the real events that took place behind-the-scenes on the previous Fassbinder film, Whity. Never straying too far from rumored fact, the film is frustratingly funny, unmistakably self-indulgent, but with the assurance that what R.W. is indulging himself in is something heís good at doing. The issue at hand is rarely about the actual production of the film, but the action taking place on the sidelines, the ego, the anger, the suffocation, the compromise. Itís flimsy, but itís undeniably entertaining in the perversity of self-mockery (the integrity being that it couldnít just be mocking, but self-mocking), and according to texts, it marks the end of Fassbinderís avant garde period. With Hanna Schygulla, Marquard Bohm, Margarethe von Trotta, Hannes Fuches, and Ulli Lommel.

[Worth-seeing.]

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8711&reviewer=172
originally posted: 02/21/04 14:13:36
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USA
  11-Nov-1976 (NR)
  DVD: 20-May-2003

UK
  N/A (15)

Australia
  11-Nov-1976 (M)




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