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By Thaís Britto, Contributing Reporter

The set of Berlin Alexanderplatz, photo by CCBB.
The set of Berlin Alexanderplatz, photo by CCBB.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Intensity is the precise word to describe the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, one of Germany’s leading filmmakers whose work is now on exhibit at the Centro Cultural Branco do Brasil (CCBB, Banco do Brasil Cultural Center).

‘Filmes Libertam a Cabeça” (Films Free the Mind) opened October 15 and will be on display until November 1st.  The exhibition will show some of his major classics and rare versions of obscure and lesser-known movies.

One of his most famous is “Berlin Alexanderplatz”, his famous fifteen-hour film (which was actually released as a TV series), which will be screened for the first time in Rio in its restored version, on 35-millimeter film.

Adapted from Alfred Döblin’s romance, it’s a portrait of German society between the World Wars. The country is one Fassbinder’s main interests as the period in which he worked – the 70s – was still very deeply marked by the consequences of the Second World War.

Emotions such as anguish, fear and loneliness abound in the stories of his characters. The resources he finds to put all of them together in a given scene continue to amaze generations of film-lovers. Fassbinder is inspired by outsiders, himself a gay man and oppressed in this period. To suggest societal pressures he often featured female protagonists in his movies, such as in “Lola”, “Veronika Voss”, “Martha” and “The Marriage of Maria Braun”. And all of the aforementioned titles can be seen at CCBB (see the schedule below).

Fassbinder and Ulli Lommel in Love is Colder than Death, photo by CCBB.
Fassbinder and Ulli Lommel in Love is Colder than Death, photo by CCBB.

Films unrealeased on DVD can also be enjoyed in the exhibition. In “Fist Fight of Freedom” Fassbinder plays Franz Biberkopf, hero of Berlin’s Alexanderplazt and protagonist of many more of his movies (“Love is Colder than Death”, for example).

It has been remarked that he is a possible alter-ego for the director, combining all his wishes, passions and doubts. Other highlights are “Despair”, based on a book by Vladimir Nabokov, with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard, and “Chinese Roulette”, the portrait of one family’s failings.

Fassbinder had a very prolific career: in less than twenty years, he shot 38 feature films. The polemic, questioning and even scandalous director died at the age of 36 of a drug overdose. To understand this cinematic genius, the audience will have the chance to talk to a few actors who worked with him.

Uli Lommel, present in fourteen of Fassbinder’s movies, will be at the “Effi Briest” exhibition, on October 29. And Vitus Zeplichal will be at “I Only Want You to Love Me”, on October 25.

The exhibition will also show movies quoted by the director as references and influences, such as “The Big Trail”, by Raoul Walsh, and also films with his participation, directly or indirectly, such as “Tenderness of the Wolves” by Ulli Lommel (Fassbinder appears as an actor) and “Water Drops on Burning Rocks”, by François Ozon, based on a screenplay by Fassbinder.

The highlights

21/10 – Wednesday

3:30pm – Lola
5:30pm – Berlin Alexanderplatz – Sixth part

22/10 – Thursday

3:30pm – Veronika Voss
5:30pm – Berlin Alexanderplatz – Seventh part

23/10 – Friday

3:30pm – Tenderness of the Wolves
5:30pm – Berlin Alexanderplatz – Eighth part
7:30pm – Fist Fight of Freedom

24/10 – Saturday

6pm – Berlin Alexanderplatz – Ninth part
7:30pm – Despair

25/10 – Sunday

5:30pm – Berlin Alexanderplatz – Tenth part
7:30pm – I Only Want You to Love Me, with the presence of actor Vitus Zeplichal

27/10 – Tuesday

Cinema 1
5:30pm – Berlin Alexanderplatz – Eleventh part

Cinema 2
5:30pm – The Big Trail
8pm – The Marriage of Maria Braun

28/10 – Wednesday

Cinema 1
5:30pm – Berlin Alexanderplatz – Twelfth part

Cinema 2
6pm – Martha

29/10 – Thursday

5:30pm – Berlin Alexanderplatz – Thirteenth part
7:30pm – Effi Briest, with the presence of actor Ulli Lommel

31/10 – Saturday

4pm – Love is Colder than Death

01/11 – Sunday

3:30pm – Chinese Roulette

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB)
Primeiro de Março 66, Centro
Information: 3808-2020
Tickets R$6
Click here to see the complete schedule.

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