EFFI BRIEST
FONTANE - EFFI BRIEST
1974, Janus Films, 140 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Adapted from Theodor Fontane’s novel of the same name, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s richly textured period piece showcases the director’s ability to give traditional source material his own iconoclastic edge. In this 19th century-set tale, 17-year-old Effi Briest (Hanna Schygulla) lives with the older Baron von Instetten in a spookily isolated Baltic manor. Left alone much of the time and with a newly born daughter, Effi begins to enjoy the “company” of handsome Major Crampas (Ulli Lommel), but it is only a matter of time before the baron’s suspicions escalate to violent consequences. Winner of the 1974 InterFilm Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, and named one of the 1,000 best films of all time by the New York Times. In German with English subtitles.


CHINESE ROULETTE
CHINESISCHES ROULETTE
1976, Janus Films, 96 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Fassbinder goes Gothic with this character-driven, wicked mosaic of intertwining mysteries. Industrial magnate Gerhard Christ (Alexander Allerson) takes his longtime French mistress Irene (Anna Karina) on a weekend getaway to his luxurious countryside chateau. He gets quite a shock when he discovers his wife, Ariane, and disabled teenage daughter, Angela, already at the manse. Angela, who has deviously planned this meeting and is armed with her mute governess (Brigitte Mira) and a collection of grotesque dolls, devises a diabolical and psychologically vicious truth game of "Chinese Roulette" for the adults to play. In German with English subtitles.


VERONIKA VOSS
DIE SEHNSUCHT DER VERONIKA VOSS
1982, Janus Films, 104 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Drug-addled and poisoned by nostalgia, faded film star Veronika Voss (Rosel Zech) is attempting to return to her 1940s heyday of glittering, sexy success by fueling herself with booze and cocaine. Having fallen into the talons of a sadistic psychiatrist (Annemarie Duringer) who enjoys having a celebrity around the office and doesn’t mind providing Veronika with just enough prescription cocktails to keep her on a dependant leash, the washed-up starlet seems in every way at odds with the 1950s and ’60s West German “economic miracle” around her - or is she? Caustically, brilliantly critical as ever, Fassbinder’s third installment in the “BRD Trilogy” is another excellent, nuanced portrait of postwar Germany. In German with English subtitles.


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