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Fassbinder – To Love without Demands is a portrait of one of the world’s most prominent filmmakers, and probably the most productive. Based on interviews Danish director Christian Braad Thomsen recorded in the 1970s, the film shows one of German film’s greatest auteurs Rainer Werner Fassbinder at his most open.

Photo: Dino Raymond Hansen

Fassbinder – to love without Demands

Panorama Dokumente / Berlinale 2015

Love is colder than death


In the film, Fassbinder talks with candour about his love for the Hollywood of his childhood, the 1970’s revolt, psychoanalysis, the emancipation of women, terrorism in West Germany, love, marriage, children – and about choosing madness as perhaps the only suitable alternative to the insanity of the ruling system.  “The title of his first film, Love Is Colder Than Death, could easily be a headline for his production as a whole, and yet he created a love stronger than death in those who came close to him,” says Braad Thomsen. On the following pages the Danish director shares his thoughts and recollections from past times with Fassbinder, accompanied by images from his film. Photo: Christian Braad Thomsen

Christian Braad Thomsen was a close friend of Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-82) throughout his career. The two met when Fassbinder screened his first film Love Is Colder Than Death at the Berlinale in 1969, and they were together for the last time only three weeks before Fassbinder died. In less than fifteen years Fassbinder completed 40 feature-length films and two television series, not to mention heaps of stage plays and acting roles. Fassbinder – To Love without Demands is built around the footage that Braad Thomsen made with Fassbinder in the 1970s – lengthy interviews that have never previously been shown. “It took me 32 years to realize how I could use the footage,” says Braad Thomsen. “In front of my camera Fassbinder is more open and vulnerable than ever. His production madness seems to be a puzzle even to himself, but he believes it has to do with his postwar childhood. Under conditions which would have turned most people into social outcasts, Fassbinder developed the confidence and integrity that later would enable him to make up to five films a year.” Fassbinder – To Love without Demands also contains new recollections by actress Irm Hermann. She and Fassbinder became friends while he was still unknown to the public yet dreamt of making Hollywood films in Munich. Actor and producer Harry Bär equally appears in new recordings. He was the last person to talk to Fassbinder only a few hours before he died. Finally the film brings a new interview with Andrea Schober, the child star of Fassbinder’s early films. All sequences are bound together by Braad Thomsen’s personal memories from his friendship with Fassbinder.


FILM | Berlin Issue 2015

Danish Films Berlin 2015  
Danish Films Berlin 2015  

Danish Film Institute's magazine with interviews and all the basics on Danish films at Berlin 2015