Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Querelle & Fassbinder

One of the most bizarre movies is Rainer Werner Fassbinder's QUERELLE, a 1982 item from the novel by Genet - but in Fassbinder's vision it becomes a lurid if not sensational potboiler of repressed (and not so- ) homoerotic passions with all those matelots in those eye-catching outfits hanging out in waterfront dives in Brest in France, as our hero Querelle (Brad Davis) has the hots for his superior officer, a moody Franco Nero, right.. 
Add in Jeanne Moreau of all people, wearing those enormous ear-rings, intoning Oscar Wilde's "Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves" and Querelle submitting to her brutal husband, who likes getting off with those sailor boys.   It was all too much at the time, how would it fare now? It was actually released after Fassbinder's death in 1982. 
The Fassbinder we really like is his 1974 FOX AND HIS FRIENDS, reviewed here a while back, see Fassbinder label - where the director himself plays the loutish lottery winner taken to the cleaners by his smart new boyfriend (Peter Chatel, right) and his grasping family who need Fox's money to prop up ther ailing business. It ends on a very downbeat note as Fox's body is robbed by kids in a metro station.  

Other Fassbinders (once as prolific as Almodovar or Ozon) we liked then include FEAR EATS THE SOUL, his stylish hothouse lesbian drama THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT, EFFI BRIEST, THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRUAN, and the fascinating mess he made of Nabokov's DESPAIR with Dirk Bogarde, the director's last before his untimely drug-related death in 1982, aged 37. Still, he clocked up 44 credits ...  . 
A FOX memory - between 1976 and 1979 I was working at Dillons University Bookshop (now Waterstones) in London's University quarter, not in the bookshop but in an office upstairs, working with a German woman, Monica, who became a friend (we both loved Dietrich and Romy Schneider); one day she was expecting a guest for lunch and asked me to talk to him until she came back from a meeting. In walked this guy whom I recognised as Peter Chatel, the actor from FOX AND HIS FRIENDS, he sat on the edge of my desk and we talked about that until Monica returned, Chatel died aged 42 in 1986, another Aids casualty, 
Below: Andy Warhol visits the set, with Fassbinder and Brad Davis.

2 comments:

  1. I hated both QUERELLE and FOX AND HIS FRIENDS when they came out. I suppose I should give both of them a chance again. FEAR EATS THE SOUL is my favourite Fassbinder.

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