A year before his tragic death in 1982, German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder — the cinema outlaw poet whose filmography included over 40 films and the epic TV mini-series “World on a Wire” and “Berlin Alexanderplatz” — put together a list of his top 10 favorite films. How did they influence him?
Fassbinder’s very favorite was Visconti’s “The Damned,” a visually sumptuous panorama of societal collapse and decay in Third Reich Germany and no doubt an influence on the German auteur’s own “BRD Trilogy,” in particular the bawdy, bordello-set “Lola.”
WATCH: Watch: RW Fassbinder’s Early Godard-Inspired Short “A Little Chaos”
In his early days, Fassbinder wore his influences like a beret, cribbing the style of early Godard films to make coolly composed black-and-white tales of chic Europeans and their nihilism. But then he found a style all his own: rich, character-driven psychodramas, meta-movie exercises and romantic poems of despair (see “Veronika Voss,” about a faded actress in the winter of her life).
So he, of course, loved Max Ophuls’ 1955 “Lola Montes,” the sad story of a kept woman shot in the kind of gloriously rendered color Fassbinder would later employ in his own work. As with many top 10 lists compiled by confrontational filmmakers, Pasolini’s beautifully ugly descent into hell “Salo” was also close to his heart. Take a look, below.
1. “The Damned” (1969, Dir: Luchino Visconti)
2. “The Naked And The Dead” (1958, Dir: Raoul Walsh)
3. “Lola Montes” (1955, Dir: Max Ophuls)
4. “Flamingo Road” (1949, Dir: Michael Curtiz)
5. “Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom” (1975, Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini)
6. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953, Dir: Howard Hawks)
7. “Dishonored” (1931, Dir: Josef von Sternberg)
8. “The Night Of The Hunter” (1955, Dir: Charles Laughton)
9. “Johnny Guitar” (1954, Dir: Nicholas Ray)
10. “The Red Snowball Tree” (1973, Dir: Vasili Shukshin)
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