Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the enfant terrible of the New German Cinema, wrote, directed, produced and starred in over 40 films in his short but prolific life, before passing away of a drugs overdose in 1982 aged just 37. Rainer Werner Fassbinder vol. 3 brings together a collection of his lesser seen works from various stages in his career, featuring high definition digital restorations prepared by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation.
The American Soldier sees Fassbinder continue to pursue the cinephilic homage to classic Hollywood crime films of his feature debut, Love is Colder than Death, in a tale of a German-American Vietnam vet turned small-time hoodlum who finds himself on the wrong side of the law in Munich, where he grew up. Unseen between its first television broadcast in 1970 and its rediscovery in 2002, The Niklashausen Journey chronicles the journey of a young peasant in the 15th century and his quest to overcome social injustice, in Fassbinder’s allegorical critique of the student movement.
Gods of the Plague portrays a newly released ex-con as he reacquaints himself with Munich’s criminal underworld to plan the robbery of a supermarket. In Rio Das Mortes, two feckless young friends, Michel and Günther, embark on a hare-brained scheme to look for lost treasure in Peru, against strong opposition from Michel’s fiancée.
Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven stars Brigitte Mira (Fear Eats the Soul) as a middle-aged housewife who is roused into revolutionary activity after her husband dies in an industrial accident. Based on a story by Asta Scheib, Fear of Fear features Fassbinder favourite Margit Carstensen (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant) as the young mother plagued with feelings of anxiety and depression as she is left to spend her hours alone surrounded by her judgemental in-laws while her husband spends his days at work. Satan’s Brew sees Fassbinder foray into riotous comedy, with Kurt Raab starring as a once famous poet stricken with writer’s block who inadvertently assumes the persona of the prewar symbolist Stefan George.
LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
DISC ONE – The American Soldier & The Niklashausen Journey
- High definition digital transfers of The American Soldier, Gods of the Plague, Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven and Satan’s Brew prepared by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
- High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentations of The American Soldier, Gods of the Plague, Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven and Satan’s Brew
- Original uncompressed PCM mono 1.0 sound for all films
- Optional English subtitles for all films
- Exclusive 140-page collectors booklet containing archive articles and new writing by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Eric Rentschler, David Jenkins, Margaret Deriaz and Earl Jackson.
DISC TWO – Gods of the Plague & Rio Das Mortes
- Audio commentary by critic Tony Rayns on The American Soldier
- Audio commentary by critic Olaf Möller on The Niklashausen Journey
- Fassbinder Shoots Film No 8, a 1971 television documentary by Michael Ballhaus and Dieter Buchmann on Rainer Werner Fassbinder filming The American Soldier
- Man in the Shadow, an exclusive new in-depth interview with Fassbinder’s collaborator Michael Fengler
- Freedom or Death!, an exclusive new interview with Michael König on The Niklashausen Journey
DISC THREE – Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven & Fear of Fear
- Alter Ego: Harry Baer on Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a 40-minute interview with the star of Gods of the Plague
- Taking Off, an exclusive new interview with Michael König on Rio Das Mortes
- Original theatrical trailer for Gods of the Plague
DISC FOUR – Satan’s Brew
- Audio commentary by critic Olaf Möller on Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven
- Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven alternate ending
- New interviews with Renate Leiffer, assistant director on Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven and Fear of Fear
- New interview with writer Asta Scheib on Fear of Fear
- Play It Again, Rainer! Fassbinder’s Musical Obsessions, a new video essay by Margaret Deriaz on the use of music in Fassbinder’s films.
- Audio commentary by critic Tony Rayns
- The Culture Industry Needs Something Like Me: Views of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a 1976 documentary portrait of the director by Gert Ellinghaus
- Fassbinder: Love Without Demands, Christian Braad Thomsen’s feature-length 2015 documentary portrait of his friend Fassbinder and the people who worked with him.
- Original theatrical trailer