Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Scenes from Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Satansbraten" [1976 West Germany]

I've just started getting acquainted with the works of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, one of the more important directors who shaped and nurtured what is called the "Neuer Deutscher Film" aka New German Cinema. He also scripted, edited and acted in films, occasionally also wearing additional caps as cameraman and composer. The man knows a bit about film all right, even though his background is from theatre. He was apparently also a hell-raiser, and courted controversy throughout his career and personal life. Since I don't know much of his filmography, I'll start with the first film I managed to add to my DVD library, the 1976 black comedy "Satansbraten" [Eng. Title: Satan's Brew].

Walter is a writer going through a mental block, and desperately needs cash to get by with his ailing wife Luise and mentally challenged brother Ernst (he's obsessed with dead flies and wants to find a way to fuck them - you get the idea!). Walter's publisher has refused further payments until he's seen the first few lines from his proposed work. The film is mostly about Walter going to extraordinary lengths to find money, by any means possible. The film is shot at a frenetic pace like a slapstick comedy, but most of it isn't funny at all, but biting satire. There are traces of Godard and Fellini in the way the characters have been drawn. It is actually a very interesting film, but I hope to discover more of Fassbinder over the coming months.

Compilation 1:
Made of three crazy scenes. First is of Walter asking his friend he could have sex with his wife Lisa, played by Fassbinder's former real-life wife Ingrid Caven. In the middle scenes, Walter comes up with an idea to interview prostitutes and write a book about them, and calls in Lana, a part-time high class prostitute for a session. He gets turned on when she says she's normally a very shy person, and decides to have sex with her while his wife and brother are still around. "It's all the name of research" is his explanation to an exasperated wife. His brother Ernst had to be restrained by others when he tries to hump Lana from behind when she goes (naked, as they do) to the bathroom to wash. Lana is played by Y Sa Lo. In the final bizarre scene, an agency woman wants to test Walter to see if he is gay by taking her top off. The woman is played by Christiane Maybach.

Ingrid Caven, Y Sa Lo and Christiane Maybach in Satansbraten

Compilation 2:
This is another crazy scene where Walter drags his aristocratic mistress Irmgart von Witzleben into her apartment, asks her to give a blowjob to a pistol, forces her to write him a fat cheque, and then shoots her before he leaves - Irmgart is played by the saucy Katherina Buchhammer. This happens at the beginning of the film. The second half is equally crazy where 'good things' suddenly happen to Walter for all wickedness. Imgart isn't dead after all - the pistol only had blanks, and it was all a game to inspire Walter to start writing again. Just as they celebrate, his friend's wife Lisa, a woman Walter has coveted for long, arrives with her belongings, to replace his wife who'd just died.

]Katherina Buchhammer in Satansbraten


No comments:

Post a Comment