Rainer Werner Fassbinder


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German actor, writer, and one of Germany's most influential film directors.

Born in Bad-Worrishofen, Fassbinder joined the Munich Action Theatre in 1967, after drama training, and in 1968 founded his own Anti-Theatre. He performed some of his own plays there and continued to act throughout his career, appearing in several of his own films. Influenced by Brecht, Marx, and Freud, he made more than thirty films in just over sixteen years, including the memorable Katzelmacher (1969), one of his first feature-length films, Why Does Herr R Run Amok? (1970), The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972), and The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972). Notable, too, were Fear Eats the Soul (1974), Despair (1978) starring Dirk Bogarde, and the allegorical The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), which won first prize at the Berlin Festival. Politically committed and critical of the postwar Germany in which he lived, Fassbinder saw his films as a means of confronting audiences with social concerns and ideas. He died of a drug overdose.

Subjects: Theatre — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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