ICE-Vision: The American Soldier (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1970)
Thursday, September 8 at 8 PM
Lamar Dodd School of Art Room S150
Film Studies major Will Stephenson continues ICE’s informal weekly series, selecting a variety of world cinema classics and subcultural curiosities.
“Fassbinder’s American soldier is actually a German, who comes home to roost as a hired killer in the Munich underworld. The miasma into which he sinks involves an aging rent-boy whose time is up, a roving porn-shark-cum-supergrass called Magdalena Fuller, a mother with a pinball machine in her living-room, and a two-timing moll called Rosa von Praunheim. There is no attempt at plausibility, just a relentless insistence on mood (manic depressive) and behaviour patterns (ex-film noir). The gangsters in Fassbinder’s earlier movies were sad, pale shadows of their American prototypes; by this time, they’ve become full-fledged Neuroses. In other words, this film marks a decisive step towards ‘real’ Fassbinder: the absurdity of its world of second-hand experience invests every cliche with a meaning it never had before.” -Time Out
“Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder described this 1970 film as “what’s left in the minds of the German people who see a lot of American gangster films.” What’s left, apparently, is some of the seediest mise-en-scene I’ve ever encountered – flat, grainy, spatially incomprehensible, and way too dark. And naturally, it’s fascinating. This is Fassbinder before he froze up as a Douglas Sirk impersonator: a real punk movie, full of wonderfully half-baked ideas. In German with subtitles. 80 min.” -Chicago Reader