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Not Fassbender. Fassbinder!

November 28th, 2016

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Film still from Fassbinder’s ‘Despair’, courtesy of TIFF

A central figure in the New German Cinema—a fertile period in filmmaking from the late 1960s to the 1980s, which includes greats such as Werner Herzog—Rainer Werner Fassbinder has become an enormous influence on today’s artists and filmmakers. His films are considered iconic and have only grown in their political and thematic relevance in the last 50 years. Our friends at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) are currently running a retrospective of Fassbinder’s fascinating works.

Fassbinder made over 40 feature films and TV dramas in a 14-year period, from 1969 to his death at age 37 in 1982. This averages out to three a year! An inspired writer, Fassbinder not only wrote his screenplays but also 14 stage plays, thoroughly immersing himself in theatre.

Coming of age in the cultural blank slate of postwar Germany, Fassbinder used film as a form of social commentary.

Fassbinder went on to shape a number of filmmakers and artists that came after him. His direct influence can be seen in filmmakers working today like Pedro Almodóvar, Todd Haynes and Wong Kar Wai, as well as contemporary artists including Jeff Wall, Ming Wong, Maryam Jafri and Olaf Metzel.

TIFF’s retrospective Imitations of Life: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder runs until December 23.

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