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Katzelmacher

Katzelmacher
Scene from "Katzelmacher" (photo © Filmmuseum Berlin/Deutsche Kinemathek)

In a Munich suburb: Marie belongs to Erich, Paul sleeps with Helga, Peter lives on Elisabeth's money and Rosy sells her body to Franz. The appearance of Jorgos, a Greek immigrant worker, brings commotion into the dull, placid life of the various couples. It is not necessary to have any particular reason: the Greek's mere presence is sufficient to turn the latent xenophobia into aggression. Jorgos draws out all their prejudice, releasing it at the same time. This is particularly true of the men. Erich, Paul, Peter and Franz jointly attack Jorgos and brutally beat him in the hope that their victim will disappear from sight. The women's behaviour is more contradictory. Elisabeth sees the stranger as a lodger who can be squeezed without difficulty and whom she is not willing to lose. Marie has left Erich and struck up a friendship with the harmless Jorgos who dreams of taking her back to his country. In the end, Paul and Helga decide to get married and Erich joins the army. Although the film does not say what becomes of the new couple Jorgos and Marie, the Greek's chances of becoming integrated in this society look slim in view of what happened before.


Rainer Werner Fassbinder was born in 1945 and died in 1982. He was one of the most significant directors of the “New German Cinema”. In just 13 years, between 1969 and 1982, he made 44 films, including Katzelmacher (1969), The Merchant of Four Seasons (Der Haendler der vier Jahreszeiten, 1971), The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Die bitteren Traenen der Petra von Kant, 1972), Fear Eats the Soul (Angst essen Seele auf, 1973), Fontane Effi Briest (1974), Despair (1978), The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun, 1979), Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), Lili Marleen (1981), Lola (1981), and Querelle (1982), among others. He wrote 14 plays, revised six others and directed 25. He wrote four radio plays and 37 screenplays and worked on a further 13 scripts with other writers. Fassbinder's films are among the most valid social documents produced between the late 60s and early 80s in Germany; his plays are among the most performed of any post-war German dramatist.
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1969
Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Screenplay Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cinematography Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Dietrich Lohmann
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Peer Raben
Cast Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Hannes Gromball, Peter Moland, Hans Hirschmueller, Harry Baer, Rudolf W. Brem, Irm Hermann, Doris Mattes, Elga Sorbas, Lilith Ungerer, Hanna Schygulla, Katrin Schaake
Producer Peer Raben
Production Company Antiteater-X-Film/Feldkirchen
Length 88 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Versions English, French, Spanish
Sound Technology Mono
Festivals Mannheim 1969, Kerala 2010
Awards FIPRESCI Award, Evangelical Award & Simone-Dubreuilh Award Mannheim 1969, Television Award from the German Academy of Performing Arts 1969, German Film Critics' Award 1969, 5 German Films Awards in Gold 1970
German Distributor Basis-Film Verleih/Berlin

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