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Fassbinder in Hollywood

Fassbinder in Hollywood
Ulli Lommel (photo © Jonas Mohr)

“Though he never actually worked in Hollywood, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who died in 1982 at the age of 36, was influenced greatly by Amercian studio films of the 1950s and the convention of melodrama (the link most often mentioned is Douglas Sirk). With actor-turned-filmmaker Ulli Lommel as host and guide (he appeared in Fassbinder’s very first feature, Love Is Colder Than Death, in 1969), documentary filmmaker Robert Fischer conducts a tour of Hollywood today, pausing to chat with cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and actress Hanna Schygulla – both charter members of Fassbinder’s tight-knit stock company of technicians and players – as well as Wim Wenders, who found the toehold in the studio system that Fassbinder never had. The proceedings are liberally sprinkled with clips from Fassbinder’s films, as well as glimpses of a theater company in Los Angeles that specializes in performing the director’s plays. As Fischer makes clear, Fassbinder’s influence on Hollywood is not only still being felt today, but is gathering a dramatic force that will serve to introduce his oeuvre to a new generation of moviegoers.”
Eddie Cockrell


Robert Fischer was born 1954 in Greven. He started writing about film in the mid-1970s and soon became one of Germany's foremost film historians. For his translations of Truffaut's complete writings into German, he was named Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Cultural Minister Jack Lang. Together with Joe Hembus he wrote a history of the New German Cinema. After five years as Vice Director at the Munich Film Museum, where he was involved in the reconstruction of Orson Welles’ unfinished films, he switched to filmmaking in 1999. A selection of his films includes: STRANGE BEHAVIOR OF MOVING PICTURES (short, 1978), MONSIEUR TRUFFAUT MEETS MR. HITCHCOCK (1999), NEVER STOP BEGINNING – UFA STAR CAROLA HOEHN (2000), FILM IS TRUTH: MILOS FORMAN (2000), FASSBINDER IN HOLLYWOOD (2002), DALTON TRUMBO: REBEL IN HOLLYWOOD (2006), ERNST LUBITSCH IN BERLIN (2006), WORKING WITH MAX OPHULS: LOLA MONTES REVISITED (2007), STARTING OUT: THE MAKING OF JERZY SKOLIMOWSKI’S DEEP END (2011), OUTLAW BROTHERS: THE MAKING OF THE LONG RIDERS (2013), SWAN SONG: THE STORY OF BILLY WILDER’S FEDORA (2014), RETURN OF BEETHOVEN STREET: SAM FULLER IN GERMANY (2015), SUCKER PUNCH BLUES: A LOOK BACK ON JOHN HUSTON’S FAT CITY (2017), and FILM BEYOND CINEMA: THE DUMPSTER KID EXPERIMENT AND OTHER UTOPIAS (2018), among others.
Genre Art, Biopic
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2002
Director Robert Fischer
Screenplay Ulli Lommel, Robert Fischer
Cinematography Thomas Repp, Bruce Schermer
Katja Hahn
Roque Baños
Cast Ian Birnie, Hanna Schygulla, Wim Wenders, Michael Ballhaus, Ulli Lommel, Fredérique Michel
Production Companies Fiction Factory Robert Fischer Filmproduktion, Crossed Arrows Production, Los Angeles, in cooperation with Bayerischer Rundfunk
Length 57 min
Format color
Original Version
 English/German
Subtitled Version English
Festivals Belgrade 2003, Karlovy Vary 2003

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