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Fassbinder – to love without Demands Quotations and image selection by Christian Braad Thomsen

1. Fassbinder with his mother Lilo Pempeit who acted in several of his films. 2. Fassbinder, 1978.

Fassbinder was just 24 when his first film, Love Is Colder Than Death, was mercilessly booed at the Berlin Film Festival. I, for my part, experienced the film as if it were the first film in the world. In a time when the language of cinema had degenerated into commercial clichés, it had now been invented anew. The static camera lingered so long on the actors that we got to linger in the frame, too, and when a cut was finally made, it felt like a cut. The actors didn’t say much, but when they did, you listened. Having filmed silence, Fassbinder now filmed the German language. That was a particular revelation for a Dane like me who was born in 1940 when German troops occupied Denmark. I grew up with a fundamental hatred of all things German, including the language itself, which I had always perceived as a soldier’s language, a language of command. Thanks to The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and Effi Briest, I now realised how beautiful and poetic the German language can be.

FILM | Berlin Issue 2015

Photo: Dino Raymond

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3. Fassbinder and Christian Braad Thomsen in Fassbinder’s hotel room at Cannes Film Festival, 1978.

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Danish Films Berlin 2015  

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

Danish Films Berlin 2015  

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