Rainer Werner Fassbinder was probably Germany’s most significant post-war director. His swift and dramatic demise at the early age of 37 in 1982 left behind a vacuum in European filmmaking that has yet to be filled, as well as a body of unique, multi-layered and multifarious work of astonishing consistency and rigour. From 1969 onwards, Danish director and film historian Christian Braad Thomsen maintained a close yet respectfully distanced friendship with Fassbinder. Fassbinder – Lieben ohne zu fordern is based on his personal memories as well as a series of conversations and interviews he held with Fassbinder and his mother Lilo in the 1970s.
Franz “Fox” Biberkopf is a working-class guy, at loose ends when his lover is arrested and the police shutter their carnival booth. In need of cash for his weekly lottery purchase, Fox lets himself be picked up by an elegant older man named Max. At Max’s, he meets two younger gay men who have expensive tastes and images to uphold. The next day, Fox wins 500,000 marks in the lottery, and Max’s friends suddenly become Fox’s friends, especially Eugen, the heir to a bookbinding firm that’s short of cash. Eugen’s polish beguiles Fox, and the fleecing begins.