"Enfant Terrible" is a ne German movie that is almost exclusively in the German language and had its wide release just the other day. The director and also (the less significant) writer is Bavarian Oskar Roehler, who turned 60 last year and who is considered among Germany's most successful filmmakers these days and probably has been for a while, although I am not sure if it is really justified. But his name surely gets this film seen too. The screenplay is by Klaus Richter, who has worked with Roehler in the past ("Quellen des Lebens", "Jud Süß") and also has worked with other directors and actually his previous (screenplay for the film) "Der Trafikant" was one I totally enjoyed, so my expectations here were not entirely low which you can see from the fact that I checked out this movie even before the first weekend. I was not disappointed. I will get into detail later on. Of course, this film is about the enfant terrible you see on the photo here: Mr. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a definite contender for Germany's most prolific filmmaker ever and looking at how he died at a relatively young age, the sheer quantity of movies in his body of work is only more impressive. Many also see him as one of Germany's finest filmmakers ever. I am not sure if I would agree here (sorry Rainer), but he is certainly one of the names of German filmmakers like Wenders, Herzog, Fassbinder and Schlöndorff who took German cinema to new heights back in the 1970s, even if he was very different for many reasons if we compare him to these others. But then again, each of them stands out for one reason or the other. Certainly Fassbinder does too. He is played by Oliver Masucci here, an actor who has been really on the rise in the last 5, maybe 10, years. He's not the youngest anymore, but seeing him enter the group of big names at this age was not too expected, but I kinda like him, so i am glad he did. You can recognize him here as well, but honestly, as you can see on the photo, his makeup here is so very heavy and very defining for Fassbinder that, already with the visual side, you could think Fassbinder is indeed back from the dead. I would not say the makeup is this "good" though. I don't think it was a huge challenge. However, it is also not bad. It is just accurate. As for the supporting cast, you can check out the list yourself, but a Roehler movie of course attracts many familiar names and faces. Riemann of course, although her character did very little for me, probably because I was not familiar with the real Gudrun in contrast to the likes of Kaufmann, Raab, Salem and a few others. All males as you may recognize and there's more. Ralf Richter and one of the Ochsenknecht sons were also in it for a very brief cameo. Sorry Ralf for mentioning you in the same breath with this fella. But you see, there are some cast members in here who are not really considered among the finest actors gently-speaking, but whose names or faces sound familiar. Another "great" example of that is Désirée Nick playing Barbara Valentin. I mean luckily they all do not have the screen time or material to really hurt the film, but it also cannot be said that Roehler turned them surprisingly into class. They are just there. As for Valentin, she died a long time ago and I wonder what she would have though about Nick playing her in a movie. So there is one female though. One of many cameos. Berkel had another or Scheer as Warhol in the end, even if I think that after Gundermann, these are not the roles he should be going for. Another female cameo would be Eva Mattes. She plays Brigitte Mira. I mean the latter was the nicest, most charming old lady, so I was a bit surprised how I kinda liked Mattes more than I usually do in here. So yes, there are female characters in here, but they are rarely memorable and if they are, then really only because of the interactions with Fassbinder, like the one asking early on if he had to punch her this hard. It is a bit disappointing because I personally feel that the majority of Fassbinder's most known films were female-centered and here you could almost feel as if they are male-centered. With the exception of Riemann's character, there are also not really any females constantly swirling around him. So this is maybe one area where the film was not too accurate. Then again, it is kknown that Fassbinder was mostly active in the gay ppub scene if you want to call it that, so maybe it is all accurate. One thing I personally would have liked here could have been the inclusion of Hirschmüller. He plays the lead in one of my favorite Fassbinder films and also received nice awards attention for it, but sadly he was as forgotten in this film here as he was in real life. Well, not for me. Thanks Hans. he turned 80 this year by the way and is one of not too many Fassbinder actors still alive today. Hopefully, this is also still true when you read this review in a few years.
But back to this movie now: It is very long at comfortably over two hours, but surprisingly it does not drag too much. I still think it could have been kept at 120 minutes, maybe even slightly under, but there is enough entertainment value to Masucci's portrayal here to keep people interested for such a long time. The supporting characters help as well. Most of the time, it is just Fassbinder going nuts or behaving in a really bizarre manner and people around him turning heads and not understanding at all what's going on. The best example is when one character became a father and asks the director if he can go home for a little while to see the baby and then Fassbinder goes down to the ground and screams about how they are making a movie and people need to understand the necessity of it all. It was much more bizarre than it sounds. Masucci could really go shamelessly over the top here and still get away with it. However, sometimes it is also the supporting characters having their wild moments and you can see that in terms of insanity they may not be entirely different compared to Fassbinder himself. Just take Raab and his occasional moments of going all in by face expressions and the way he talks. Good choice there to take this actor as well. He resembled the real Kurt Raab (who I like a lot) too and I am glad this character was maybe the biggest supporting player here. Or Salem's violent take. I think the actor was maybe a bit too old for the character though, but not sure. Salem is one who plays a major role here as we find out at the end that Fassbinder saw him as his one true love. And he was dead and gone. So was Fassbinder's final romance. One died in jail, the other commited suicide. You can surely say that being Fassbinder's significant other does something with you and not in a positive sense. Reminded me a bit of Milk. But let's not get too carried away. An early love story includes Kaufmann here. i read about him in the past and how it was never 100% clear he was romantically involved with Fassbinder, but this film tells us he was. By the way, seemed almost a bit like a challenge to not depict any male genitalia in here, but they managed. Otherwise this film could probably not be shown in the afternnoon the way it was today. Still many sex scenes here, but nothing too graphic. Also the film makes clear in a very unique manner that Fassbinder is not a likable fellow at all. Just really captivating. The scene with the guy he says he will have sex with if he eats meat despite being a vegetarian and how he then says no sex because he threw up immediately afterwards was truly humiliating. Another example would be how it was him that turned Kurt Raab into an addict apparently. I also did not know how close the two were if they actually were this close in reality back then. And I did not know about how when their friendship ended and Rainer threw him out of the apartment, they did not stay friends until Rainer's death. I did know about his take on politics though. "Deutschland im Herbst" here makes it very obvious, also the discussion with his mother. And the inclusions of the Israelis dying in Munich and the abduction of the Landshut are interesting historic(al) references.
As for Fassbinder himself, I think that maybe the scene with the dinner was the most telling. They were celebrating there the success of the Mira movie and he has so much praise for her, but zero praise for Salem. Him he ignores almost completely although he is his boyfriend. Very telling because this film "Angst essen Seele auf", which is truly an amazing movie and Fassbinder's best maybe, is a two man show. And another moment we see there is when he hears it is a huge success and people love it, hoe he starts crying and you can see he likes to be appreciated. he is not about being against mainstream all the time as you could think. He wants to be liked too. You can also see this early on when he says he wants to be listed with three other highly successful filmmakers and be as famous and popular as them. he is not just doing his thing. He is a very fragile soul indeed. And a narcissist at the same time as you can see with the brief Gremm references. he thinks he is marvellous in those films where he is acting. And nobody understands his craft as we find out early on. What else? Ah yes, the "Goldener Reiter" sequence at the end was nice with the music. Shame he never got to make his movie. The references to death (Grim Reaper) were maybe a bit too stylistic on two occasions (one of them being the actual death), but it's not horrible or anything. Okay, I am getting closer to the end of the review now. It seems the reception is pretty poor for this film from what I have seen. Oh well, I did not think it was this terrible. At lleast i was well-entertained. But I can see why some may say that they feel the performances are more on the parody side, but yeah I am not 100% sure (not even 10%) how the guys depicted here were in real life back then because I am simply too young. I say watch it.
Biography / Drama
Biography / Drama
The life and the impact of iconic German New Wave director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 04, 2021 at 07:05 PM