Thursday, March 01, 2012

Fassbinder's top ten films

Rainer Werner Fassbinder died aged 37 in 1982 after directing forty feature films, two TV film series, three short films, four video productions, twenty-four stage plays and four radio plays (so say Wikipedia). He also acted in and wrote many of them. Even before I saw any of his films, I'd read his biography, Love is Colder than Death: Life and Times of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, by Robert Katz and Peter Berling. I still haven't seen as many of his films as I'd like to, but those that I have seen (especially Fear Eats the Soul), I love.

Fassbinder liked a top ten as much as anyone else. Here are two he made the year before his untimely death:

Fassbinder's 'The ten best films'
1. The Damned (Luchino Visconti, 1969)
2. The Naked and the Dead (Raoul Walsh, 1958)
3. Lola Montès (Max Ophüls, 1955)
4. Flamingo Road (Michael Curtiz, 1949)
5. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975)
6. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)
7. Dishonoured* (Josef von Sternberg, 1931)
8. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
9. Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)
10. Red Elderberry (Vasily Shukshin, 1974)

*Also one of Jean-Luc Godard's top ten American films when he was writing for Cahiers du Cinéma in the 1960s.

Fassbinder's 'The top ten of my own films'
1. Beware of a Holy Whore (1971)
2. In a Year With 13 Moons (1978)
3. Despair (1978)
4. The Third Generation (1979)
5. Gods of the Plague (1970)
6. Martha (1973, TVM)
7. Effi Briest (1974)
8. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
9. The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
10. The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971)

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