Fear eats the soul

From: Freya (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Sep 25 2007 - 12:50:45 PDT

Well it's preety off topic but having been out and
about and very depressed and not feeling up to really
going home, I wandered into the library and stumbled
across a fassbinder film called "Fear eats the soul".
I like Fassbinder films but they are often filled with
some kind of emptyness. It's part of his whole visual
style. Whereas Hollywood films are often full of some
sort of fantasy world, Fassbinder films are usually
full of some kind of harsh reality that on screen
appears a bit more harsh and real than even reality
is! It's almost like he wants to show you things are
real but at the same time wants you to know he is
doing it.

I almost put the film right back. I've got plenty of
reality in my life at the moment thankyou very much,
but for some reason I didn't. Perhaps because I hadn't
seen the disc around before, and then for some reason
I also just opened the packet and put it straight into
the DVD player instead of putting the copy of "a
chinese ghost story" in there which was what I
actually wanted to watch. Having done so I kind of
lost the will to do anything but just watch it. I
could have pulled it out and put the other disc in but
that would have required some kind of actual effort
and by that point I was already vaguely curious if the
film would play if I hit the play button or if I would
be stuck in one of those menus you need a remote
control for.

It played.

I was very unprepared for what an incredible film I
was about to see. Fassbinder captures the reality of
society so acurately and the absolute complexity of
people. I love the part where the main woman in the
film insists on taking her new husband to an expensive
resurant where Hitler used to eat, as she has always
wanted to eat there! These kind of contradictions are
there throughout the film just as they are in life and
Fassbinder shows us not just these contradictions but
the struggle we have to be free in our lives not just
from our own prejudices but the ones that are imposed
on us from outside.

There is a wonderful interview on the disc filmed on
what seems to be a mos film camera in Fassbinders
french flat. You can see outside through his window
and as the interview goes on it becomes night outside.
Fassbinder talks about all kinds of stuff and seems
like a very intelligent and thoughtful and honest man.
Although he refuses to use the word honest as even in
the interview he acknoledges that he doesn't know how
honest he is being because the societys that we live
in make us think a certain way and we can never be
completely and utterly sure what is truly ourselves
and what has been imposed from outside, no matter how
unconformist why might think ourselves.

I also found it facinating to watch Fassbinder chain
smoking. He seemed so comfortable with his cigarettes
and so used to them that he would just waft them about
and virtually stick them in his hair and all over. I
wondered for a while if he was going to set fire to
his hair and if he would be bothered if he did. It was
strangely morbidly facinating to watch, although I'm
sure in real life this would annoy the hell out of me
as it's people who interact with cigarettes like this
who are likely to burn a hole in your skirt after a
few drinks. (although they still seem to never burn

I loved the cover art for this film too which is
another one of those artworks where you wonder if they
have actually seen the film or if they just fast
forwarded till they found the right pictures to make
the cover look good. Having watched the film, the
cover made me laugh.

Todd Haynes is mentioned on the back of the cover too
which might have been what made me subconciously want
to stick the dvd in the player. Sadly the interview
with Todd is a bit deviod of anything really
substantial which was a dissapointment but the film is
a good comparison with "Far from Heaven" and perhaps
is even better. I need to go away and think about it.

It's quite sad to hear Fassbinder talk about the way
things were heading in society and the missed
opportunity to really change things. I guess theres
just something fundamentally wrong with the way that
people are and so they get trapped in cycles of the
same things over and over.

I guess we are all slaves to das Massen-Bewusstsein.
It will always take a strong effort to break free.

Sorry this film is all arthouse and only somewhat
experimental. I've not really seen any experimental
films for a while and while I could write about how
much I loved Decasia, I just don't feel like it right
now. Also I guess in my more positive moments I'm
looking for something else lately, but I'm not quite
sure what it is yet.

If anyone wants to write to me off-list and recommend
other films I might want to try and track down on DVD
then please do. I'm intrested in people who are
creating their own kind of cinematic language (as
Fassbinder certainly does) in part or more wholesale.
I also love the work of Peter Watkins which probably
is experimental or certainly doesn't fit into the kind
of boxes you might expect. (just to give you some

Other than that I'm intrested in experimental work
that might have a more political aspect (beyond the
usual supects of Maya, Stan, Kenneth, Jack etc) even
work from the cinema of exclusion that is somewhat
political. Yes It is out there, I've already come
across some of William Rabans films that fit this
category and theres also Guy Sherwin’s "Man with a
mirror", (which I love but I'm looking for things that
are less performance based) and I'm guessing there
must be other stuff out there that I don't know about
(because this is always the way with experimental

I don't know how to really express what I'm looking
for as ultimately I don't know what is yet so I'm
really sorry I'm being so vague. Point me in a vague
direction and I'll stumble around in the desert for a
while longer and see if I find anything. :)

I hope you are all doing something magical. Life is



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