Rainer Werner Fassbinder  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Rainer Werner Maria Fassbinder (May 31, 1945June 10, 1982) was a German film director, screenwriter and actor. He is one of the most important representatives of the New German Cinema, noted for such films as The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.


Fassbinder was born in the Bavarian town of Bad Wörishofen. In his short life he not only made 43 films (including two shorts and the 15 ½ hour Berlin Alexanderplatz), but he also worked as an actor (film and theatre), cameraman, composer, designer, editor, producer and theatre manager.

Fassbinder's prodigious cinematic output is legendary. He made, on average, a film every hundred days. His intense discipline and phenomenal creative energy when working were in violent contrast with the excesses of abasement and tortured relationships of his personal life with the people he drew around him in a surrogate family of actors (including Udo Kier, Kurt Raab and Hanna Schygulla), technicians and cameramen (notably Michael Ballhaus) in a similar way to John Cassavetes.

Fassbinder was openly gay and many of his films dealt with gay characters - keeping with his interest in characters that were deemed outsiders by society.

Fassbinder died at the age of 37 from an overdose of cocaine and sleeping pills. There is debate as to whether the overdose was accidental or not. His death is often considered to mark the end of New German Cinema.

There is a biography in English, Fassbinder: The Life and Work of a Provocative Genius by Christian Braad Thomsen, translated by Martin Chalmers (ISBN 0-571-17842-1).


All titles written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder unless stated otherwise. According to Hanna Schygulla, Fassbinder had no part in making of Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?, that was realized off his idea by Michael Fengler, his assistant. Same might also argue that this is the case for The Niklashausen Journey.

Year English title Original title Notes
1965 This Night This Night Short. Nonextant.
1966 The City Tramp Der Stadtstreicher Short.
1966/67 The Little Chaos Das kleine Chaos Short.
1969 Love Is Colder Than Death Liebe ist kälter als der Tod
1969 Katzelmacher (aka Cock Artist) Katzelmacher Based on his play.
1970 Gods of the Plague Götter der Pest
1970 The Coffee House Das Kaffeehaus TV film. Based on a play by Carlo Goldoni.
1970 Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? Warum läuft Herr R. Amok? Co-directed and written (improvisation instructions) with Michael Fengler.
1970 The American Soldier Der amerikanische Soldat
1970 The Niklashausen Journey Die Niklashauser Fahrt TV film. Co-directed with Michael Fengler.
1971 Rio das Mortes Rio das Mortes TV film.
1971 Pioneers in Ingolstadt Pioniere in Ingolstadt TV film. Based on a play by Marieluise Fleisser.
1971 Whity Whity
1971 Beware of a Holy Whore Warnung vor einer heiligen Nutte
1972 The Merchant of Four Seasons Händler der vier Jahreszeiten
1972 The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant Based on his play.
1972-1973 Eight Hours Are Not a Day Acht Stunden sind kein Tag TV series, 5 episodes.
1972 Bremen Freedom Bremer Freiheit TV film. Based on his play.
1973 Jail Bait Wildwechsel TV film. Based on a play by Franz Xaver Kroetz.
1973 World on a Wire Welt am Draht TV film in two parts. Based on the novel Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye. Co-written with Fritz Müller-Scherz.
1974 Nora Helmer Nora Helmer TV film. Based on A Doll's House by Ibsen (German translation by Bernhard Schulze).
1974 Ali: Fear Eats the Soul Angst essen Seele auf Inspired by Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows.
1974 Martha Martha TV film. Based on the story "For the Rest of Her Life" by Cornell Woolrich.
1974 Effi Briest Fontane - Effi Briest oder: Viele, die eine Ahnung haben
von ihren Möglichkeiten und Bedürfnissen und dennoch
das herrschende System in ihrem Kopf akzeptieren durch
ihre Taten und es somit festigen und durchaus bestätigen
Based on the novel by Theodor Fontane.
1975 Like a Bird on a Wire Wie ein Vogel auf dem Draht TV film. Co-written with Christian Hohoff and Anja Hauptmann.
1975 Fox and His Friends Faustrecht der Freiheit Co-written with Christian Hohoff.
1975 Mother Küsters' Trip to Heaven Mutter Küsters Fahrt zum Himmel Co-written with Kurt Raab. Based on the short story "Mutter Krausens Fahrt Ins Glück" by Heinrich Zille.
1975 Fear of Fear Angst vor der Angst TV film. Based on the novel by Asta Scheib.
1976 I Only Want You to Love Me Ich will doch nur, daß ihr mich liebt TV film. Based on the book Lebenslänglich by Klaus Antes and Christiane Erhardt.
1976 Satan's Brew Satansbraten
1976 Chinese Roulette Chinesisches Roulette
1977 Women in New York Frauen in New York TV film. Based on the play by Clare Boothe Luce.
1977 The Stationmaster's Wife Bolwieser TV film in two parts. Based on the play by Oskar Maria Graf.
1978 Germany in Autumn Deutschland im Herbst Fassbinder directed 26-minute episode for this omnibus film.
1978 Despair Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht Screenplay by Tom Stoppard. Based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov.
1978 In a Year of 13 Moons In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden
1979 The Marriage of Maria Braun Die Ehe der Maria Braun Co-written with Pea Fröhlich and Peter Märthesheimer.
1979 The Third Generation Die dritte Generation
1980 Berlin Alexanderplatz Berlin Alexanderplatz TV series, 14 episodes. Based on the novel by Alfred Döblin.
1981 Lili Marleen Lili Marleen Based on Der Himmel hat viele Farben, the autobiography of Lale Andersen. Co-written with Manfred Purzer and Joshua Sinclair.
1981 Theater in Trance Theater im Trance Documentary.
1981 Lola Lola Co-written with Pea Fröhlich and Peter Märthesheimer.
1982 Veronika Voss Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss Co-written with Pea Fröhlich and Peter Märthesheimer.
1982 Querelle Querelle Co-written with Burkhard Driest. Based on the novel Querelle de Brest by Jean Genet.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rainer Werner Fassbinder" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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