1981, Janus Films, 113 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

In the late 1950s during West Germany’s postwar economic boom, Herr von Bohm (Armin Mueller-Stahl) moves to the corruption-rife city of Coburg as its new building commissioner. He’s immediately smitten with his landlady’s daughter, Mary-Louise (Barbara Sukowa), with little knowledge of her double life: In the evenings she becomes Lola, a sultry bordello singer and mistress of local builder Schuckert (Mario Adorf). That Schuckert’s profits depend on von Bohm’s building approvals only makes this lush melodrama and second installment in Fassbinder’s “BRD Trilogy” all the more delectably complex. Shot in gorgeous, disco-ball colors by cinematographer Xaver Schwarzenberger. In German with English subtitles.

1969, Janus Films, 88 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

In Fassbinder's stark, sardonic debut feature, small-time Munich pimp Franz Walsch (played by an uncredited Fassbinder) relishes his entrepreneurial independence and refuses to join the local mob, despite its allure of greater cash flow and stability. When Franz is befriended by mysterious crook Bruno (Ulli Lommel), the two go on a small but frenzied crime spree of theft and murder, along with Franz's prostitute girlfriend Joanna (Hanna Schygulla). But as Franz plans another robbery, this time a more elaborate heist, the allegiances of the trio begin to break down. Why did Bruno seek out Franz in the first place? And is Joanna's jealous distrust leading her to make other plans? In German with English subtitles.

1970, Janus Films, 80 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Professional hitman Ricky (Karl Scheydt) has returned to his German hometown after living in the U.S. and fighting as an American soldier in the Vietnam War. A group of three detectives, acting without the permission of their chief and humiliated that they haven't yet busted a local crime ring, hires Ricky to go after the ring and kill each member off systematically. But all is not what it seems in Fassbinder's alternately light and deeply disturbing revisionist noir, which looks at the nature of crime and jealousy through the lens of bruised masculinity. With Fassbinder in a cameo role as Franz Walsch, a recurring character throughout his early gangster pictures and his own pseudonym for his work as an editor. In German with English subtitles.

Syndicate content