films seen
average score
Alive and kicking



1969 / 88m - West Germany
Katzelmacher poster

Early Fassbinder. I'm not really familiar with his work yet, but I liked this one slightly better than Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, the other film of his I've seen. It's rather slow and uneventful, but the stark cinematography and restrained performances create an almost trance-like atmosphere. Not great, but quite unique.

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Giorgos is a Greek immigrant. He tries to find his place in Munich, but the people there aren't too happy to see him. They try to drive him out, and when that doesn't seem to work, they molest him. The only person who is nice to him is Maria, a young woman who has fallen in love with Giorgos.

The film looks overwhelmingly white, the camera work is stark and restrained, and the actors are stoic but not wooden. The plot and characters appealed less to me, not ideal for a film that is little more than conversations between loitering people. The stylistic choices saved it for me, though only barely.

The Marriage of Maria Braun

Die Ehe der Maria Braun
1979 / 120m - West Germany
The Marriage of Maria Braun poster

My third Fassbinder. I'm not a fan, but I must say that I like his films better than I'd expected. I'm not big on classic films or get very excited when watching German cinema, but there's a relative ease to his work that is a bit of a surprise. Just to say that The Marriage of Maria Braun could've turned out a lot worse.

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During the final days of the war, Maria marries Hermann, only for him to disappear days before the war is over. Maria does her best to trace her husband, but she is left to fend for herself. Maria is a capable woman and she finds herself another husband, but as time passes, she grows more distant from the people around her.

The setting and characters weren't that appealing to me, so at the very start of the film I began to fear the two-hour runtime. The vibe and pacing are rather pleasant though, and the performances are decent. Not that the film stood out to me in any way, but I've seen a lot worse, so kudos to Fassbinder.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Angst Essen Seele Auf
1974 / 92m - West Germany
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul poster

This was only my first Fassbinder, it only seemed appropriate to pick his most lauded film to get acquainted with one of Germany's biggest directors. I can't say I really dug Fassbinder's style, then again my expectations were rather limited so this wasn't really a big disappointment either.

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A widow gets to know a young Arab worker when taking shelter from a storm in a small cafe. The two have a connection and not long after they share a house. The relationship grows stronger and eventually they marry. The widow's children aren't happy to see their mother remarry though.

The characters are well-developed and get ample room to grow on the audience, but the presentation of the film is pretty dire and lifeless. The main theme was probably a bit more relevant when the film was originally released, yet it feels dated now. In the end, there wasn't much here for me, but it wasn't the worst classic I've seen.