by Greg Muskewitz
A self-reflexive black comedy about filmmaking (immediate thoughts of Day for Night), or more specifically, a black comedy about Fassbinder’s style of filmmaking.When the film opens, the cast and crew of a German film about “human brutality” (Fassbinder’s 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 Fassbinder’s leather jacket). A producer has pulled out from the project, taking away a large source of funding, and the materials ordered from Germany haven’t come either. (Fassbinder stars as a screaming production assistant.) When the director does show up, it’s 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 he’s 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. It’s flimsy, but it’s undeniably entertaining in the perversity of self-mockery (the integrity being that it couldn’t just be mocking, but self-mocking), and according to texts, it marks the end of Fassbinder’s avant garde period. With Hanna Schygulla, Marquard Bohm, Margarethe von Trotta, Hannes Fuches, and Ulli Lommel.[Worth-seeing.]
"... the perversity of self-mockery ..."
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originally posted: 02/21/04 14:13:36