Harry Baer

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Katzelmacher Review


Excellent
Not much happens in Fassbinder's Katzelmacher (the title translates as Cock Artist), at least not until Fassbinder himself shows up to throw a wrench into things.

Those things are the empty lives of a group of Munich city-dwellers, a bunch of men and women roughly in their 30s who do nothing but sit on the sidewalk, smoke, and have sex with one another all day long. Fassbinder's Greek immigrant Jorgos mucks up the status quo when he moves in and takes up with one of the German women (Hanna Schygulla), throwing their slacker lifestyle out of its precarious balance. The local Germs do what any territory-protecting brood would do: They beat the crap out of him.

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Fox and His Friends Review


OK
Rest assured, Fox doesn't really have any friends. But if you won the lottery, you'd probably find yourself surrounded by "friends" much like Fox is in this, a strange and depressing look into greed, naiveté, and the pain that invariably comes with wealth.

Rainer Fassbiner directs himself in the lead role of Fox, a light-headed loser employed as a "talking (decapitated) head" for the circus. Obsessed with the lottery, he doesn't quite know what to do with himself when he actually wins, but a gaggle of mostly-gay cronies who glom onto him soon after help out in that regard.

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Gods of the Plague Review


Grim
Gods of the Plague picks up right where Fassbinder's Love is Colder than Death leaves off -- literally -- as Franz (now played by Harry Baer) is released from prison for the deeds he performed in the prior film. He visits his best gal (still Hanna Schygulla), and with the guy who killed his brother (!), they plan to rob a supermarket (!!).

Glamour isn't exactly high on Franz or Fassbinder's list here. Love was a poor enough movie as it is, and Fassbinder has even worse luck here, in what I believe is the only sequel he ever made. With characters this dull and uninspired, why did he feel they needed to be revisited? Who can say?

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Rio das Mortes Review


Grim
Pretty straightforward for a Fassbinder movie, Rio das Mortes, despite the Spanish title, never gets out of Germany.

The film involves two friends (Michael König and Günther Kaufmann) who decide they want to sail a Peruvian river in search of a fabled treasure. The journey will take a lot of money, so they proceed to do everything in their power to raise it. They borrow. They work overtime. They try to find investors for a hypothetical cotton plantation. They even sell the car -- a nondescript sequence that consumes 10 of the film's 84 minutes. Eventually, a girlfriend (Fassbinder regular Hanna Schygulla) gets wind of the plan and tries to stop it.

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